Bears flop on field, but score in the ratings

On the field in the NFC Championship Game, the Chicago Bears was much like The Cape. But in the ratings, they came up like American Idol (and in fact, outdrew it.)

Sunday’s game between the Bears and arch rival Green Bay on Fox-owned WFLD drew an astonishing local household rating of 50.6 and a household share of 80, with more than 1.7 million homes tuning in according to Nielsen Media Research.

Even better, the game drew more viewers than the Bears’ appearance in Super Bowl XLI four years ago. The rating was up 0.8 % and the share was up 4.5 %.

The Bears played against Green Bay in what is described as the oldest rivalry in the NFL. However, the Bears and Packers met in the playoffs for the first time since 1941. But it wasn’t one to remember for the boys in blue as the Bears lost 21-14, and the Packers make their first trip to the Super Bowl since the 1997-98 season.

In Milwaukee – where there are a large contingent of Packers fans, Local TV-owned Fox affiliate WITI drew a 57 rating for the big game (Ratings for Green Bay are not available because it is not a Nielsen metered market.)

Nationally, the Packers-Bears game drew 52 million viewers, while the AFC Championship Game between the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers did even better with 55 million viewers. With an average of 53.4 million viewers, both games brought the largest audience for the NFL for a Championship game since January 1982.

With interest still sky high in football, there’s no doubt this year’s Super Bowl between the Green Bay packers and Pittsburgh Steelers – two of the most storied franchises in the NFL – will draw a humongous audience – perhaps shattering the all-time record for most watched program in television history set only year with Super Bowl XLIV, whose 106.5 million viewers broke the long-standing record the final episode of M*A*S*H  set for CBS on February 28, 1983.