For the third year in a row, the big game set a new ratings record with this year’s competitive championship game between New York and New England. NBC struck ratings gold with an estimated 111.3 million viewers according to the Nielsen Co., bumping up from the 111 million viewers from last year’s game between Pittsburgh and Green Bay and making it the most viewed TV program in U.S. history.
While the game pulled in strong numbers itself, it hardly compares to the ratings high [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Madonna[/lastfm] pulled in for her halftime show!
Madonna also made ratings history by pulling in an estimated 114 million viewers for her halftime show alone, making it the most-watched halftime show in history.
According to Nielsen, an estimated 117.7 million people were watching during the last half hour of the game, thanks to a singular play when Tom Brady made a last-ditch effort to heave the ball into the end zone at the final seconds of the game. According to digital video recorder maker Tivo, that play alone had the biggest audience out of any play of the game.
This year’s game goes down in ratings history for being one of five TV programs that broke the 100 million viewer mark. The only programs to exceed 100 million viewers are the last two championship NFL games, along with the 2010 game between New Orleans and Indianapolis, and the finale of “M-A-S-H” in 1983.