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Super Bowl ratings down a bit but still No. 3 program all time

FUN TIME: From left, Wade Hagarty, Tarin Jewel and Callee Hagarty cheer their Cardinals in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIII, the second-most watched Super Bowl ever.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

FUN TIME: From left, Wade Hagarty, Tarin Jewel and Callee Hagarty cheer their Cardinals in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIII, the second-most watched Super Bowl ever.

Television ratings for Sunday's Super Bowl weren't as high as last season but still were pretty good.

The Steelers' thrilling 27-23 victory against the Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium generated a 42.1 overnight rating and 65 share on NBC. Each rating point represents 1,145,000 households; the share means 65 percent of the televisions on at the time were tuned to the game.

The game drew an average of 95.4 million viewers, second in Super Bowls behind last year's (97.5 million) and third in TV history; the M*A*S*H series finale in 1983 drew an average of 106 million viewers to CBS.

Last year's game in which the Giants upset the Patriots had a 44.7 rating and 66 share, making it the most-watched game in Super Bowl history. This year's game ranks among most Super Bowls — 18 of the past 20 had an overnight rating of 40.0 or higher. The average over the past 20 years is 42.5.

No surprise that Pittsburgh was the top-rated market with a 53.6 rating (number of households tuned into the game) and a 79 share (households with televisions on tuned into the game). Phoenix, however, was ninth with a 47.5 rating and 80 share. The Tampa Bay market was sixth with a 49.2 rating and 70 share.

All in all, NBC was pleased with the viewership.

"Every year, America stands still on Super Sunday, and these numbers confirm the power and consistency of the Super Bowl as the top property in all of television," said Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics. "Many people doubted this matchup, but it's the Super Bowl, not the matchup, that draws an enormous audience. We are in a great place to be in relation to last year's historic and unimaginable game when an undefeated powerhouse was upset by an underdog from the country's largest media market."

Obama right on pick

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama predicted the Steelers would win, and they proved him right.

Obama, who talked football in an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's pregame show Sunday, didn't predict a score but said, "I think the Steelers are going to eke it out in the end." Obama conceded last week that he was pulling for Pittsburgh. Steelers owner Dan Rooney, a longtime Republican, endorsed and campaigned for Obama.

Asked if he had a Terrible Towel in the other room, Obama said: "I do, actually. I'm not going to be rubbing it in because we've got some Arizona congressmen here and I may need their vote on the (fiscal) recovery package."

Roethlisberger on TV: 'I thought I blew it'

NEW YORK — When he threw the pass that won the Super Bowl, Ben Roethlisberger thought he'd just blown the game for the Steelers.

The Pittsburgh quarterback went on the Late Show with David Letterman on Monday and told the host that Sunday's pass to Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds left was his third read.

"I was getting ready to start running and then I saw about five guys closing on me, I knew my life was about to end," Roethlisberger said. "I saw Santonio in the corner, and as soon as I let go of it, I saw the defensive back going to get it, and I thought it was intercepted. … I thought I blew it. And, you know what? He made a heck of a catch, he really did."

Pittsburgh parade set

PITTSBURGH — The city will hold a victory parade today for the Steelers. The parade will follow the traditional route for the city's St. Patrick's Day parade. It will begin at noon near Mellon Arena, continue through downtown and end at Gateway Center.

Times wires contributed to this report.

Super Bowl ratings down a bit but still No. 3 program all time 02/02/09 [Last modified: Monday, February 2, 2009 10:23pm]
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