TV Ratings Through the Roof: Super Bowl 58 Sets Historical Record

Super Bowl 58: A record shattering showdown

The Super Bowl 58 featuring the Kansas City Chiefs versus the San Francisco 49ers has shattered all previous TV ratings records, with a historic estimated 123.7 million viewers.

Spectacular as the ratings for this Super Bowl were, they could have been better.

Just imagine how many more millions would have watched if all those folks hadn’t sworn off the NFL after Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest racial injustice. Think of the millions of dads, Brads and Chads who skipped the game because they’re sick of seeing Taylor Swift after every play.

Why, the entire country would have watched, rather than the mere 61% that tuned in!

I’m being sarcastic, obviously. And very much so.

The numbers released by CBS on Monday night were straight-up bonkers. The Kansas City Chiefs’ overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 58 was the most-watched television event in history. You read that right. Ever.

Not by a small margin, either; the average of 123.7 million who tuned in across all platforms was up 7% from last year, which was also a record.

Dynasty cemented: Mahomes, Kelce and Reid secure legacy with Super Bowl 58 win

With a win over the 49ers in Super Bowl 58, the Kansas City Chiefs have now locked in a dynasty status after winning their third title in 5 years.

Even more jaw-dropping was that more than 200 million watched the Super Bowl at some point or another during the broadcast. Think about that. We’re a country of almost 332 million people and we can’t agree on anything these days. It doesn’t matter if it’s an issue of consequence, like whether an election was stolen (it wasn’t), or something frivolous, like whether it’s pop or soda (duh, soda). You’re going to get a significant portion of the population who vehemently disagrees and will never budge.

Yet we find common ground in the NFL because it gives us both a shared experience and a shared language. Need something to do on a Sunday, Monday or Thursday? There’s an NFL game on. Even in the off-season, there’s the combine. And the draft. And free agency. And training camps. And … you get the idea.

Trying to fill the uncomfortable silence before a meeting or at a social gathering? Ask those around you what they thought of (insert local team name here)’s last game and you’re off and running. If you don’t follow said team enough to feel confident doing that, or it’s the off-season, ask whether Patrick Mahomes will wind up being better than Tom Brady.

It doesn’t matter what part of the country we’re in, what we look like, who we worship or who we love. The NFL gives us a common bond, and there’s nothing else in this country that comes close.

Of course there are some members of the lunatic fringe who boycotted Sunday’s game to make a point about Swift, who was shown for all of … checks notes … 55 seconds during the four-hour broadcast. Just as there were some people who turned off the NFL because they were offended by a Black man calling attention to the structural racism that persists in our society.

But the number of those people are, and were, small. And as the ratings from Sunday and the last few seasons show, most of those who quit the NFL eventually come back.

The NFL drew an average of 17.9 million viewers per game this season. That’s the highest since 2015when the average was 18.1 million, and tied for second-highest since tracking of such things began back in 1995.

It’s also a 7% increase over last year, and the fourth time in five years the league has drawn 16.5 million or more per game. That one blip was 2020, when the country was just a tad bit distracted by the COVID-19 pandemic and a contentious presidential election going on.

Sure, this year’s numbers were boosted by the Swifties, who more than offset the petulant manbabies who took their remotes and went home because they were offended by the coverage of Swift and her boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, by both the networks and the NFL.

(This wasn’t Swift’s doing, mind you. It was the league and the networks that decided to cater to their newfound fans. Which, if I’m not mistaken, would be called Business 101 in any other scenario.)

Anyway, the point is, the pull of our national pastime is stronger than any faux outrage or differences we have. It’s the NFL’s world and, in this country, we’re all living in it.

Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on social media @nrarmour.

2024-02-13 20:53:01
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