Skip to main content
Publish date:

The NFL’s Ratings Dominance Is Even More Powerful Than You Think: TRAINA THOUGHTS

1. If you pay any attention at all to sports television ratings, you know the NFL is king.

Even though this is common knowledge, every now and then, you’ll see some numbers that still blow you away.

Sports Business Journal recently reported about the NFL’s dominance when it came to the top 100 most-viewed shows so far in 2021.

For starters, 23 of the top 25 most-watched telecasts this year are NFL games. The Super Bowl, both championship games and both divisional playoff games make up the top five.

The only two events that were able to squeeze into the top 25 were President Joe Biden’s inauguration (No. 6) and an episode of CBS’s The Equalizer (No. 24)—which aired immediately following the Super Bowl.

Thirty-four regular-season NFL telecasts landed in the top 100 most-watched broadcasts of 2021.

The Week 4 Bucs-Patriots game, which featured Tom Brady’s return to New England, drew 28 million viewers, making it the eighth-most-watched broadcast in all of television for 2021.

The Tokyo Olympics claimed 16 spots among the top 100.

Other sporting events in the top 100:
Sugar Bowl, No. 29
Rose Bowl, No. 30
College Football National Title game, No. 31
Final Four, UCLA vs. Gonzaga, No. 55
Kentucky Derby, No. 62
NFL draft, Round 1, No. 75
NBA Finals Game 4, No. 87
NBA Finals, Game 5, No. 96
The Masters final round, No. 99

The other events besides President Biden’s inauguration to break through among all the NFL telecasts? Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, which was the 36th-most-viewed show of 2021, pulling in 17.8 million viewers.

As usual in this country, it’s all about the NFL and Oprah.

2. The horrible Saints-Seahawks game Monday night hurt ESPN and the Peyton and Eli Manning MegaCast in the ratings.

After generating 1.86 million viewers in Week 2 and 1.89 million viewers, this week's Peyton and Eli show, which featured Tom Brady and Marshawn Lynch, drew 1.6 million viewers. 

SI Recommends

The traditional game broadcast on ESPN drew 11.2 million viewers, the lowest number of the season for Monday Night Football.

3. Here is this week's edition of the best weekly segment on sports TV: "Bad Beats."

4. On his SiriusXM Let's Go! podcast this week, Tom Brady revealed his favorite career moment and his answer may surprise you.

5. In Monday's Traina Thoughts, we told you about Tom Brady's emotional moment with Noah Reeb, a young fan who overcame brain cancer, during the Bucs' game Sunday. Reeb was a guest on this week's Inside the NFL and revealed that this was not his first time communicating with Brady. The future Hall of Famer sent Reeb a video message back when he was undergoing treatment.

6. This week's episode of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina features a pair of interviews.

First up is Steve Levy from ESPN. Levy talks about how his second season calling Monday Night Football is going, how he feels about the Peyton and Eli Manning alternate Monday Night Football telecast, the challenges of a three-person booth, the impact that fans in the stands have on a broadcast and much more. Levy also discusses ESPN's getting back in the NHL game and his role on hockey coverage this season. Levy also reminisces about his famous SportsCenter slipup, his favorite SportsCenter moments and his days working at WFAN.

Following Levy, Jeff Garlin from Curb Your Enthusiasm joins the podcast. Garlin talks about the new season of the HBO comedy, which actor breaks the most when filming, whether Curb could work anywhere but HBO, why the show isn't going to do much on COVID-19, how much of a scene is on the outline the actors get, his favorite Curb season and much more.

The podcast closes with the weekly "Traina Thoughts" segment. This week, Jimmy and Sal Licata from WFAN and SNY talk about why this is the best time of year for a sports fan, the Yankees' retaining Aaron Boone, whether Curb should do shows about COVID-19 and more.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on AppleSpotify or Stitcher.

You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.

7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: I need to see this happen in an NFL game.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on AppleSpotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.