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Super Bowl draws record total audience of 166.8 million

Super Bowl XLVI MVP Eli Manning Visits Disney World

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 6: In this handout image provided by Disney Parks, Super Bowl XLVI MVP and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning takes a celebratory ride with Mickey Mouse on February 6, 2012 at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The celebration at the theme park took place only one day after Manning led his team to a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. Immediately following the game, Manning looked into TV cameras and shouted “I’m Going to Disney World!” He is the latest star in the famous Disney commercial series. (Photo by Matt Stroshane/Disney Parks via Getty Images)

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MDS pointed out earlier the average audience numbers for Super Bowl XLVI. The NFL has now announced the total number of people who watched any portion of the game.

And it’s another record.

In all, 166.8 million tuned in for some portion of NBC’s coverage of the game, making it the biggest total TV audience of all time.

The crowd breaks last year’s record of 162.9 million, who watched some portion of Super Bowl XLV between the Packers and Steelers.

And it’s more than 18 million more viewers than the last Giants-Patriots Super Bowl from four years ago.

Thus, even as we continue to split our time among 300-plus channels and on-demand video and DVDs and the Internet and various other forms of media, there’s only one thing that can unite us as a people: pro football.