Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos debut posted the best overnight rating for any primetime National Football League game on NBC, the network said on its Twitter feed.
The game’s 18.0 rating for Denver’s 31-19 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, which featured Manning’s first game after a year off because of injury, is the best for any primetime game in 15 years, Comcast Corp.’s NBC Universal said.
NBC’s previous best overnight was a 17.7 for the 2010 opener, which was a National Football Conference championship game rematch between the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints and Brett Favre’s Minnesota Vikings.
The Pittsburgh-Denver game was up 8 percent from last year’s first game on NBC, a matchup between Dallas and the New York Jets.
The Denver market drew a 44.2 rating and 67 share, best for that city for an NFL regular-season game on any network since 2003.
Indianapolis, where Manning used to play, posted a 28.9 rating and 42 share, making it the No. 3 market overall for the game.
Manning, 36, threw two touchdown passes, including the go-ahead score with about 9 minutes left in the game. A four-time Most Valuable Player who missed last season after neck surgery, Manning completed 19 of 26 passes for 253 yards.