FOXBORO, MA – AUGUST 13: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots speaks turnover Julius Peppers #56 of the Green Bay Packers after a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 13, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

All of the chaos surrounding the New England Patriots, plus the fact that they’re the defending Super Bowl champions and were playing a perennial contender on Thursday night, led NFL Network to a staggering viewership number for the team’s first preseason game.

The game between New England and Green Bay drew 2.52 million viewers, good for the second-best preseason viewership total ever on NFL Network. The record came just a year ago, when Johnny Manziel’s Browns debut drew 2.82 million viewers. Later in the night, Cowboys-Chargers also posted a strong number, drawing 1.56 million viewers to NFL Network for the game.

Are these strong numbers surprising? Well, not really. A week ago, the Hall of Fame Game between the Steelers and Vikings drew 11 million viewers, the highest total for the game since 2010.

No matter how much people complain about the NFL or Roger Goodell, they’re still watching games at record levels. You’ve got to give the shield some credit here – despite the seemingly endless array of controversies that have plagued the NFL over the last two years, nothing has changed in terms of the viewers tuning in and the money flowing into their coffers.

[Sports Media Watch]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.

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