People are jumping on the NFL’s lower ratings over the last few seasons, with headlines pointing out that the Super Bowl which saw the underdog Eagles knock off the Patriots had its lowest ratings in nine years. The truth is, Super Bowl LII was still one of the most watched events ever.
In 2015, NBC released the top eight most-watched TV broadcasts in history. Since then, the last two Super Bowls in 2016 and 2017 have cracked the top ten. Here are the most-watched events in TV history as of the Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl:
- 114.4 Million — Super Bowl XLIX (Feb. 2015)
- 114.4 Million — Super Bowl L (Feb. 2016)
- 112.2 Million — Super Bowl XLVIII (Feb. 2014)
- 111.3 Million — Super Bowl LI (Feb. 2017)
- 111.3 Million — Super Bowl XLVI (Feb. 2012)
- 111.0 Million — Super Bowl XLV (Feb. 2011)
- 108.7 Million — Super Bowl XLVII (Feb. 2013)
- 106.5 Million — Super Bowl XLIV (Feb. 2010)
- 106.0 Million — M.A.S.H. Finale (Feb. 1983)
- 103.4 Million — Super Bowl LII (Feb. 2018)
- 98.7 Million — Super Bowl XLIII (Feb. 2009)
Another factor of lower ratings, beyond the various “scandals” around the NFL and calls from President Donald Trump to boycott the game (despite hosting a Super Bowl party Sunday night), is the increasing cord-cutting of sports fans. NBC says its streams recorded another 2.6 million viewers, which, if that counts, moves Super Bowl 52 into a tie with the M.A.S.H. finale.
And it should be noted that in 2009, no one was taking a knee to raise awareness about police brutality and inequality so that narrative should probably be thrown out the window.