In human history (we’re being deliberately hyperbolic), a sports series has been the highest-rated and most-watched show of the primetime TV season on only three occasions. Here’s the list:

1. NBC’s Sunday Night Football, 2012
2. NBC’s Sunday Night Football, 2013
3. NBC’s Sunday Night Football, 2014

From the Peacock:

NBC’s Sunday Night Football finished the 2013-14 television season as the No. 1 show in primetime in household rating, viewership and the coveted Adult 18-49 demographic, based on live plus same day data from The Nielsen Company (September-May).


For the 2013-2014 primetime television season, Sunday Night Football ranks as the highest-rated (12.8), most-watched show (21.7 million, viewers 2+), and the No. 1 broadcast program across the key demographics of Adults 18-49, 18-34, 25-54 as well as Men 18-49, 18-34 and 25-54 and Women 18-34 and 18-49.

Here, courtesy of NBC PR folks, is a look at primetime telecasts averaging at least 20 million viewers from Sept. 5, 2013-May 21, 2014


Take that, Leroy Jethro Gibbs and Sheldon Cooper!

SNF finished the season with an average viewership of 21.7 million, which beat out second-place NCIS by nearly five million viewers (Gibbs’ program had 16.9). And this year, they also started to dominate the female demo:

Sunday Night Football’s win in the Women 18-49 demographic marks the first time ever that a sports series has ranked No. 1 among the broadcast networks in this category for a full TV season.

This should surprise nobody. The NFL’s popularity continues to skyrocket, and it’s tough not to watch sports live and in HD. That works completely against what’s happening elsewhere in the proliferated world of entertainment, where Netflix and an expanding channel guide have saturated the market.

NFL football is immune to that, and the numbers back it up.

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at, Deadspin,, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.