Last week’s Broncos-Chiefs Thursday Night Football matchup, airing on CBS on broadcast TV and NFL Network on cable TV, was one of the crazier primetime games in recent memory, with Peyton Manning fighting against Father Time and the decline of his arm to lead a game tying drive in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, capped off by a laser touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders. The game appeared headed to overtime, but Andy Reid decided to have his Chiefs run a play instead of kneeling the ball to head to the extra session, and Jamaal Charles fumbled after the handoff, with the Broncos picking up the ball and running in for the game-winning score.
The game also drew crazy ratings, according to Awful Announcing, drawing a record for Thursday Night Football broadcasts:
The Thursday Night Football machine isn’t slowing down – in fact, it’s only picking up steam. This week’s matchup between the Broncos and Chiefs drew a 14.3 overnight on CBS and NFL Network, 4% up from the previous high mark for TNF (Ravens-Steelers last season).
The 4% jump isn’t really a large one – in fact, the game’s 12.9 primetime overnight was identical to last year’s Ravens-Steelers prime night overnight. But nevertheless, it’s still a new high for a franchise that only made its broadcast debut last season for CBS.
That new record may not last long, however. Next week’s Redskins-Giants matchup is one that could bring in plenty of eyeballs from the northeast, and the week after that features a matchup of the previous high watermark – Ravens-Steelers.
In fact, over the rest of TNF’s CBS schedule this season (which ends after Week 8), there are a couple of tantalizing matchups past the two just mentioned. Week 7 will feature the Seahawks and 49ers, while Week 8 features a potentially crucial battle between the Dolphins and Patriots.
Proof once again that America cannot get enough of the NFL, and as long as the league continues to print money with live broadcast rights, it will remain America’s true pastime.