Once again, the Super Bowl dominated TV ratings and broke records.
An average of 111.3 million total viewers tuned in to NBC's coverage, according to figures from Nielsen, watching the underdog New York Giants hold off the New England Patriots 21-17 in a seesaw match that went down to the final moments.
To enhance that number of viewers though, which is only slightly up from 2010, Collins added:
The network estimated that 177 million viewers—or more than 56% of the current U.S. population—watched at least six minutes of the game. That gave it a reach comparable with an entire cycle of the Olympics, spread over many days and nights.
Still, with over 300 million people living in America, that's roughly 35 percent of the country tuning in to NBC.
In short, all this really means is a reiteration that pro football remains as the country's most popular sport. And for those who are really into number crunching, Collins added this tidbit about viewership as the game progressed:
NBC said the heavily hyped halftime show, featuring Madonna with a special assist from Cee Lo Green, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj and MIA, was the most-watched ever, with 114 million viewers.
During the last half-hour, with New York mounting a game-winning scoring drive, average viewing topped out at 117.7 million.
Now, obviously a large part of this can also be attributed to the cities of the franchises competing—New York and Boston—two of America's biggest markets. However, even the average football fan was interested as Super Bowl XLVI was a rematch of Super Bowl XLII.
So, not only was this game going to be another major spectacle, but when Tom Brady and Eli Manning are dueling once again on the NFL's most prestigious of stages curiosity if anything will nudge someone who barely follows the sport.
Make it a close game on top of all the Peyton Manning drama, and the 2011 NFL season having survived a lockout last summer and Super Bowl XLVI was bound to break, then set, a new viewing record.
The scary part about all of this, however, is that it would not be surprising to see both franchises back at it again in Super Bowl XLVII.
Each team has the talent to repeat as conference champions and provided they can remain healthy, 2012 will be remarkable. If anyone thought these numbers were massive, a grudge-match would vehemently blow up the ratings.
John Rozum on Twitter.