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34 of America’s 35 most-watched fall TV shows were NFL games

Jason Witten, Tracy Porter

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) is tackled by Oakland Raiders cornerback Tracy Porter (23) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)

Tim Sharp

The NFL sent out a press release on Wednesday to brag about its TV ratings, and although the NFL doesn’t need any of our help in promoting the fact that its TV ratings are amazing, the numbers are worth pointing out anyway.

According to the NFL, the average game got 17.6 million viewers, and 205 million Americans watched at least one NFL game. That represents 70 percent of the potential TV viewers in America, which completely dwarfs the kind of viewership that any other type of programming gets. (Even though to me it’s actually a little surprising that 30 percent of people with a TV never watched a single game last season.)

Perhaps most impressive of all is that 34 of the 35 most-watched fall TV shows in America were NFL games. The only non-NFL show that made the Top 35 was NBC’s coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which checked in at No. 22.

America’s most-watched TV show of the fall television season was the Thanksgiving game between the Raiders and Cowboys, which drew 31.7 million viewers. That was followed by the Week One Packers-49ers game, which got 28.5 million viewers, the Packers-Lions Thanksgiving game with 28.3 million viewers, the Broncos-Cowboys shootout with 28.3 million viewers, the December 1 Broncos-Chiefs battle with 28.1 million viewers, the November 24 Cowboys-Giants game with 27.9 million viewers, the December 15 Packers-Cowboys game with 27.8 million viewers, the December 8 Seahawks-49ers game with 27.6 million viewers, the season-ending Eagles-Cowboys game with 27.4 million viewers and the September Eagles-Broncos game with 27.0 million viewers.

And that’s just for the regular season. Already we’ve seen playoff games with even higher viewership totals. And playoff viewing numbers only go up as the postseason goes on, culminating with the Super Bowl, which is America’s most-watched show every year, and this year may turn out to be the most-watched show in American television history.