Giants Win Over 49ers Marks Highest NFL Conference Title Rating Since 1995

The New York Giants’ 20-17 overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers drew the best preliminary television rating for any National Football League conference championship game since 1995.

The New England Patriots’ 23-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens, which also was decided in the closing seconds, had the highest rating for an afternoon American Football Conference championship since 1994.

Yesterday’s Giants-49ers National Football Conference title game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco was seen on Fox in 33.4 percent of homes in the top 56 U.S. television markets, Ileana Pena, a spokeswoman for the News Corp. (NWSA) network, said in an e-mail.

That makes it the highest-rated conference title game since the 49ers beat the Dallas Cowboys 38-28 in January 1995, which drew a major-market rating of 34.2.

The Giants’ victory drew an 11 percent better rating than last year’s NFC championship between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, which earned a 30 rating while airing earlier in the day.

New York topped the 49ers 7:54 into overtime on a 31-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes. The kick came after the Giants recovered a fumbled punt by Kyle Williams at the 49ers’ 24-yard- line.

The Patriots’ 23-20 win over the Ravens earned a 29.1 major-market rating on CBS. That’s the highest such rating for an afternoon AFC championship since a 1994 meeting between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills that drew a 29.5, according to CBS Corp.

Patriots Win

The Patriots won yesterday’s game after Baltimore kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds left.

The Giants and Patriots will meet in the Feb. 5 Super Bowl in a rematch of the 2008 title game, which New York won 17-14. Last year’s Super Bowl, won by the Packers over the Pittsburgh Steelers, was the most-watched program in U.S. television history, drawing an average of 111 million viewers.

The 2008 Super Bowl drew an average of 97 million viewers - - at the time a record for the event -- and a 43.1 rating, according to Nielsen Holdings NV.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.