Despite rapidly devolving into an ass-whipping of the highest order, last night’s installment of Monday Night Football kept viewers riveted to their TV sets.
For Jets fans, it must have been like witnessing a hideous car wreck from which they could not look away; while for Patriots partisans, the shellacking of Rex Ryan’s charges on the home turf of Gillette Stadium had to have been the sweetest kind of overkill.
According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data, ESPN’s presentation of the Patriots-Jets blowout averaged 16.5 million viewers, making it the fourth most-watched MNF broadcast of the season. This despite a 45-3 New England victory that became academic in the closing seconds of the first quarter, as wideout Deion Branch hauled in a 25-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to give the home team a 17-0 lead.
The Pats kept pounding their AFC East rivals on both sides of the ball, allowing only a 39-yard Nick Folk field goal with 12:14 remaining in the second quarter. After that aberration, Brady went back to coolly dismantling the Jets’ vaunted defense, tossing another three TD passes before the clock finally (and mercifully) ran out.
The massacre earned a 12.7 rating in Boston and a 10.8 in the New York market. As is generally the case, the game was simulcast on local broadcast affiliates in both markets, drawing a 29.5 on Boston ABC station WCVB and a 6.5 on New York MyNetworkTV affiliate WWOR.
Through the first 13 weeks (14 games) of the NFL campaign, ESPN’s MNF is averaging 14.4 million viewers, on par with last season’s deliveries at this juncture.