The last time the Chicago Bears played on Sunday Night at Soldier Field, it was a heavily-hyped game against the Houston Texans – needless to say didn’t live up to the hype on the field or in the ratings as the Texans beat the Bears and QB Jay Cutler was knocked out of the game with a concussion after the first half.
Things were much different Sunday night as the Bears hosted their first Sunday Night Football game since the Texans lost. Led by QB Mitch Trubisky, the Bears beat the defending NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings 25-22 in a dominant performance.
With the Bears playing very well (7-3), the game was flexed into NBC’s and the NFL’s prime slot two weeks ago, bumping out the Pittsburgh Steelers-Jacksonville Jaguars contest, which moved to CBS (and despite so, was a thrilling game with the Steelers roaring back from a 16-0 deficit to win the game.)
According to Nielsen, the Bears game drew a whopping 34.4 household rating locally, making it the second-highest rated contest of the year, only behind the Bears-Packers opener (35.3) and the third highest-rated program in the Chicago market in the last two years, behind the season opener and the Cubs’ World Series Game 7 clinching victory in November 2016. In the Twin Cities, the game drew a 40.4 household rating.
Nationally, the game easily won the evening for NBC as the game averaged a 12.3 household overnight rating and a 5.8 final rating in adults 18-49. However, the ratings were down from last week’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles and down 17 percent in the demo from last year’s week eleven game. Overall, the game drew 18.8 million viewers, with another 30,000 streaming the game.
Meanwhile, Fox topped NBC in the overnights with a 12.6 for the second-half of its doubleheader between the Eagles and New Orleans Saints (in finals, the game finished behind Sunday Night Football.) The rating would have been higher had the Eagles weren’t blown out badly in this game – the biggest loss ever by a defending champion. Yes, the party is already over in Philadelphia.
The competition was no match for Sunday Night Football as usual – Fox did decently well with its comedy lineup and CBS maintained around a 1.0 demo rating for its regular lineup as ABC showed some growth with Dancing With The Stars Juniors and Shark Tank from last week. Meanwhile, The CW’s new Sunday lineup of Supergirl and Charmed finished with a 0.3 demo rating, flat from last week but was outdrawn by Univision’s Nuestra Belleza Latina (0.5). The latter show is a weekly elimination-style beauty pageant, something tried only once by English broadcasters (Twentieth Television’s syndicated Dream Girl U.S.A., airing in the 1986-87 season.)
The Bears have another flexed matchup for Sunday night on December 9, a home game against the Los Angeles Rams. Monday night, the Rams engaged the Kansas City Chiefs in a wild 54-51 shootout victory, which drew the largest Monday Night Football audience since 2014.