Super Bowl XLVI Is the Most-Watched Broadcast in U.S. History

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The annual match-up between the NFL's two best postseason teams has added a new tradition to its already well-known collection of them, which includes Most Tears Shed By Grown Men, Most Chili Consumed, and Most Time Spent on the Toilet the Following Day. For the third year in a row, the Super Bowl has become the most-watched televised broadcast in the history of American television.

According to fast data from The Nielsen Company, an average of 111.3 million people watched yesterday's Super Bowl XLVI, surpassing Super Bowl XLV's 111.0 million from 2011. (Two years ago, Super Bowl XLIV was watched by 106.5 million viewers.) Yesterday's broadcast earned a 47.0 rating across all households, beating last year's mark of 46.0.

NBC used the event to boost its singing competition show The Voice. In its Season 2 premiere, which aired immediately airing after the game, The Voice netted a whopping 37.6 million viewers and a 16.3 rating in the adult (18-49) demographic. Madonna's halftime show was also the most-watched mid-game entertainment performance of all time, so we can finally put that Black Eyed Peas travesty behind us.

This news only emphasizes what we said last week in our Super Bowl infographic: The Super Bowl is HUGE. NBC needs all the help it can get as it claws to get itself out of fourth place, but we'll see if Sunday's ratings are enough to bump it ahead of ABC.

It's too bad the game, while close, wasn't more exciting. It certainly wasn't the best football I've ever seen. The longest play of the game was a 38-yard pass, and critical drops toward the end made the game more about who could execute fundamentals rather than athletic prowess. And if Bill Belichick had just let the Giants score at the two-minute warning and not challenged that play giving Tom Brady a chance to march down the field for the win with three timeouts, I'd probably be $100 richer. Thanks a lot, Belichick. You big jerk.


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