New England's 31-28 win over Philadelphia Sunday earned NBC its highest rating in the two seasons it has broadcast Sunday night National Football League games, the network said.
General Electric Co.'s "NBC Sunday Night Football" was watched by an average of 15.6 percent of homes in the top 56 U.S. media markets, the network said in a news release. The overnight rating was 44 percent higher than NBC's previous high, a game between the Indianapolis Colts and Eagles a year ago.
The rating peaked at 17.3 during the fourth quarter as the undefeated Patriots (11-0), who were 24-point favorites, rallied to win on a four-yard touchdown run by Laurence Maroney with about seven minutes to play.
The game, which according to NBC outdrew ABC's "Desperate Housewives" by 41 percent, was the league's highest-rated prime-time package since a Nov. 28, 2005, match-up between the Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers, which had a 15.8 rating on Walt Disney Co.'s ABC.
Large-market ratings represent about 70 percent of the 109.6 million U.S. households with televisions.