Super Bowl XLIII Emerges Victorious

More people watched last Sunday’s Super Bowl than any of its previous telecasts, according to final numbers from Nielsen. On average, more than 98.7 million people were said to watch the contest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. Earlier numbers pegged the game at No. 2. NBC yesterday released a figure of 94.5 million, and preliminary figures had it lower yet.

Nielsen told The Washington Post that the discrepancy originated with NBC itself, when some stations were left off of the early-reporting list. The new number, an average of the viewing audience over the entire telecast, eclipsed last year’s audience of 97.4 million for Fox. In third place was the 1996 match-up between Dallas and Chicago, with 94 million tuning in.

The revised total now gives NBC the top spot of all Super Bowl ratings, and the No. 2 spot in most-watched shows of all time, second only to the finale of “M*A*S*H” in 1983. That show drew 106 million people on average.