NFL Network Sets 'TNF' Mark, Averaging 6.2 Million Viewers

NFL Network scored its top Thursday Night Football coverage mark during the 2011 season.

The pro football league's in-house network averaged a record 6.2 milllion viewers for eight contests, recording an 8% gain over its previous mark of 5.7 million in 2010. Those totals exclude fans who watched the games on over-the-air stations in the participating teams' DMAs.

Since kicking off game coverage during the 2006 season, TNF, which finished its 2011 slate with 4.6 million for Indianapolis-Houston on Dec. 22,  has almost doubled its contest viewership from 3.1 million mark during its rookie campaign.

The 2011 season saw NFL Network register its biggest audience to date, as 10.7 million viewers watched the Baltimore Ravens  beat the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving night. The contest was the first in NFL history between two teams coached by brothers (John for Baltimore, Jim for San Francisco).

NFL Network's TNF pregame and postgame shows also set viewership marks this season. The Thursday Night Kickoff Presented by Sears pregame averaged a record 751,000 viewers, up 33% jump over last season's previous high. The Kay Jewelers Postgame averaged 2.3 million viewers, which was also ahead by one-third from the record-setting 2010 average.