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Bucs-Patriots is second most-watched Sunday Night Football game ever, NBC says

Only the 2012 Cowboys-Washington regular season finale drew more, according to the network.
Tom Brady’s return to New England attracted approximately 28.5 million viewers, making it the second most-watched game since Sunday Night Football’s debut in 2006.
Tom Brady’s return to New England attracted approximately 28.5 million viewers, making it the second most-watched game since Sunday Night Football’s debut in 2006. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Oct. 4

A game hyped as the biggest in NFL regular-season history nearly had the ratings to match.

NBC announced Monday that Tom Brady’s return Sunday night to Gillette Stadium in the Bucs-Patriots clash attracted approximately 28.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched Sunday Night Football game since 2012 and second most-watched game since SNF’s debut in 2006.

The 2012 Cowboys-Washington game in Week 17, which determined the NFC East title, drew 30.3 million viewers.

Sunday’s viewership total for the Bucs’ 19-17 triumph included all NBC platforms (NBC TV, Peacock, NBC Sports Digital, NFL Digital). Additionally, the game delivered a 34 share — the highest for any contest in the history of the Sunday Night Football package.

NBC’s TV coverage averaged approximately 27.2 million viewers alone, with a national TV household rating of 14.6/34. The first number represents the percentage of total national TV households tuned into a program at a given time; the latter is the percentage of TV sets in use.

By comparison, the nationally televised Bucs-Cowboys season opener on Sept. 9 had a rating of 13.4/32.

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