There might not be a stronger piece of evidence that the NFL dominates America than the ratings networks fetch for preseason games. For instance, Sunday night's glorified practice between the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets on NBC drew the highest overnight rating for any non-Olympic sporting event since the MLB All-Star game July 10, according to Sports Media Watch.
Jaws dropped a week ago when the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers drew 8.1 million viewers and a 5.2 rating, winning that night on prime-time television. But many chalked that up to the Steelers being one of the biggest draws in America and Andrew Luck being one of the most heavily hyped prospects in NFL history.
It turns out that wasn't an anomaly, as the Panthers and Jets produced a 7.5 for the Peacock Sunday in a game that featured only a single touchdown. Even though we know the Jets have been covered ad nauseum, and this is one chance to see Tim Tebow throw passes, that's still a crazy number. To put it in perspective further, NBC drew a 4.0 overnight for Game 6 of this year's Stanley Cup Finals.
What's truly amazing about this is that the NFL's preseason is especially bad. Basketball is always a good show and Grapefruit/Cactus League baseball is a novelty, but take the competitive edge out of football and you're left with a depressing shell of the game we've grown to love. I'm one of the biggest football fans in the history of the galaxy, but even I'd rather watch a Seinfeld re-run than the second half of a Panthers-Jets game in August.
Sex excluded, nothing sells like football.