Saddled by one of the least competitive games in NFL history, Thursday Night Football shed nearly 9 million viewers during its second week under the CBS/NFL Network game plan.
The Atlanta Falcons’ 56-14 dismantling of Lovey Smith’s woeful Tampa Bay Bucs drew 11.9 million watchers on Sept. 18, according to Nielsen data. With the blowout – Tampa’s two fourth-quarter tallies ended the scoring – the second TNF simulcast declined 43% from the 20.8 million who tuned in the Baltimore-Pittsburgh opener on Sept. 11. The total included 2.35 million who watched on NFL Network.
Nevertheless, TNF easily won TV’s night, as the broadcasters – save for NBC’s two-hour presentation of The Biggest Loser -- remain in repeat mode ahead of the officials start of the TV season next week.
Moreover, Atlanta-Tampa -- highlighed by Devon Hester's punt TD (pictured) that set the all-time NFL mark for return scores -- registered the second-largest TNF audience behind Baltimore-Pittsburgh and ahead of the 11.1 million for Kansas City-Philadelphia on Sept. 19, 2013 (excluding NBC's Thanksgiving night specials). Until the two games this season, Chiefs-Eagles ranked as NFL Network's largest telecast, including audience contributions from local stations in the participating teams' DMAs.
Kicking off at 7:26 p.m. (ET), an hour before the pro game, ESPN's coverage of the much more competitive contest between fifth-ranked Auburn and 20th-rated Kansas State -- the Tigers topped the Wildcats, 20-14 -- drew 3.85 million watchers to lead the way in cable on Thursday.
The smarter way to stay on top of the multichannel video marketplace. Sign up below.
Thank you for signing up to Multichannel News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.