Oct 14, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) makes a catch and stiff arms Kansas City Chiefs free safety Ron Parker (38) in the second half at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated Kansas City 43-40. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

NFL ratings have been up compared to last year. But Week 6 ratings saw an incredible spike that dwarf the prior gains this season.

The strong Week 6 viewership was capped off by the monster number NBC’s Sunday Night Football drew. The Chiefs-Patriots broadcast registered a 14.6 overnight rating, up 34% from last year’s Week 6 game (Giants-Broncos) and tied for the highest rated Week 6 game in the history of NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

NBC walked into a perfect storm with this game. The Patriots are the Patriots and they were going to bring a lot of viewers (even though the Red Sox were playing at the same time). The Chiefs were 5-0 and have one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL in Patrick Mahomes, who would bring both Chiefs fans and neutral fans to the broadcast. It also helped that the game was close throughout, featured just one punt, and ended on a game winning field goal. I’m not sure you could come up with a better situation to get people to watch.

Overall, the entire league experienced higher overnight ratings. Fox reported an 11.7 overnight rating for its Sunday window, an 18 percent increase for their Sunday afternoon singleheader over last year (9.9). Both of Fox’s pregame shows, Fox NFL Kickoff and Fox NFL Sunday, were also up double digits from last year.

SBJ’s John Ourand reported that the combined overnight rating of Sunday’s action was a 47.3, up nine percent from 2017. Fox Sports’ Michael Mulvihill added to that stat to say that the nine percent increase of overall viewing was the highest gain for any Sunday so far this season and all three networks who broadcast Sunday games have shown a season-to-date increase in Sunday overnight ratings compared to last year.

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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