Saints' 26-24 last-play victory over Eagles delivers most-watched Saturday Wild Card game ever with 34.4 million viewers
Last weekend's historic NBC "Wild Card Saturday" was the most-watched ever, averaging 30.8 million viewers - up 14 percent from last year's 26.9 million average, according to Fast National data from The Nielsen Company.
Saturday's slate featured two playoff games decided by two points or less on the same day for the first time in NFL postseason history, as the Indianapolis Colts overcame a 28-point deficit to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs, 45-44, and the New Orleans Saints scored the game-winning points on a field goal as time expired to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles, 26-24. The NFL instituted Wild Card Saturday for the 1990 season when it expanded the playoffs from five to six teams per conference.
The Saints' first road playoff victory in franchise history was the most-watched "Wild Card Saturday" game in NFL history, averaging 34.4 million viewers. The 34.4 million viewership is up 14 percent from last year's primetime Wild Card matchup (30.3 million for Green Bay's 24-10 win over Minnesota).
Saints-Eagles (8:15-11:23 p.m.) earned a 19.1 rating/31 share - up 10 percent from last season (17.3/28). Viewership peaked at 36.6 million for the game's final minutes from 11-11:23 p.m.
The Colts' come-from-behind victory, highlighted by Andrew Luck's 443 passing yards and four touchdown throws, averaged 27.6 million viewers - up 17 percent from last year (23.6 million viewers for Houston's 19-13 win over Cincinnati). Chiefs-Colts ranks as the second most-watched early Saturday Wild Card game ever behind NBC's telecast of Seattle's 41-36 win over New Orleans on Jan. 8, 2011 (28.3 million viewers).
The AFC Wild Card telecast (4:35-8:07 p.m.) earned a 16.0 rating/30 share - up 11 percent from last season (14.4/28). Viewership peaked at 38.1 million from 8-8:07 p.m.
"Wild Card Saturday" delivered the best day in NBCSports.com history, excluding Super Bowl, with a record 33.9 million minutes of consumption - an increase of 122 percent increase from last season - through NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group's live streaming product.
NBC concludes its postseason run with the telecast of the 2014 Pro Bowl from Honolulu on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. The 2014 Pro Bowl features the all-star game's first-ever "unconferenced" format, highlighted by teams drafted by Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders in place of the prior AFC vs. NFC matchup.