For the first time in over a year the Pittsburgh Steelers returned to the Monday Night Football lineup, and in so doing, the defending Super Bowl champs helped draw a crowd for ESPN.
The Steelers’ 28-10 win over the Denver Broncos averaged 16 million total viewers on Nov. 9, making it the second most-watched MNF contest of the 2008-09 season. (Brett Bowl I, the long-awaited grudge match between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, drew 21.8 million viewers on Oct. 5.)
Last night’s telecast now ranks as the fifth most-watched basic-cable telecast of all time.
Season-to-date, ESPN’s 10 MNF telecasts have delivered an average audience of 14.6 million total viewers, up 18 percent versus this time a year ago.
The last time the Steelers appeared on MNF was Nov. 3, 2008, when Pittsburgh topped the Redskins at FedEx Field by a 23-6 margin. Despite the Steelers’ lopsided victory, the inter-conference matchup delivered 14.2 million viewers.