The Cleveland Browns-Detroit Lions preseason game on Saturday set a rating and viewership record for preseason games broadcast by NFL Network, the league announced Tuesday.
Likely fueled by anticipation surrounding the debut of Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, the game had a 1.81 US HH rating and was watched by an average of 2.82 million viewers. The latter represents a viewership figure 36 percent higher than the previous most-watched broadcast, the 2007 Hall of Fame Game between the New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers.
More: Winners and losers from preseason Week 1
The next three most-watched broadcasts were Broncos-Bengals in 2010, Cardinals-Saints in the 2012 Hall of Fame Game and Giants-Jets in 2012.
NFL Network has been broadcasting preseason games for 11 years. The network is scheduled to broadcast eight more games the rest of the preseason, as well as parts of two more games.
Did Manziel make a case for starting after first preseason action?
On Monday's SI Now, The MMQB senior writer Greg Bedard and SI NFL writer Chris Burke discuss the performances of Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel in the first preseason game and which quarterback will be starting week one.
- Ben Estes