San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks (55) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL’s wild-card weekend drew huge television audiences.
The four games averaged 34.7 million viewers for the most-watched wild-card weekend on record.
The San Francisco 49ers’ 23-20 win [auth] over the Green Bay Packers had 47.1 million viewers Sunday on Fox to make it the most-watched wild-card game on record. The previous high was 42.4 million for the 2011 Steelers-Broncos game, which Denver won in overtime on Tim Tebow’s touchdown pass.
But Sunday’s game had two exciting quarterbacks, history-rich franchises and the spectacle of a frigid Lambeau Field. It didn’t hurt that chilly temperatures across the country gave Americans good reason to stay indoors. The audience was larger than that for every NFC divisional playoff game Fox has broadcast and 13 of its 19 NFC championship games.
The two Saturday games averaged 30.8 million viewers on NBC, a record for the Saturday wild-card games. The New Orleans Saints’ 26-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles was the most-watched Saturday wild-card game ever with 34.4 million viewers.
Three of the four games were decided by three points or fewer, only the second time in NFL history that happened in an NFL playoff weekend, after the 2006 divisional round.
The one game that wasn’t as close, the San Diego Chargers’ 27-10 win over the Bengals, still drew a big audience, with 30.9 million viewers on CBS. That’s the most in 19 years for an early Sunday AFC wild-card game.