The finish between the Packers and Seahawks attracted mainstream media attention Tuesday, but the game itself was down slightly from last year.
The Week 3 Packers/Seahawks “Monday Night Football” game drew a 10.3 U.S. rating and 16.167 million viewers on ESPN, down 3% in ratings and 5% in viewership from Washington/Cowboys last year (10.6, 17.104M), and down 5% and 7%, respectively, from Packers/Bears in 2010 (10.8, 17.454M).
Despite the decline, the game ranks as the sixteenth-most viewed “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN (106 telecasts dating back to 2006), and the most-viewed “MNF” telecast of the young season.
The Seahawks won Monday’s game on a disputed ‘Hail Mary’ touchdown pass. The resulting controversy, which has focused primarily on the NFL’s use of replacement referees during the owners’ lockout of the regular officials, has crossed over from the sports world into mainstream news coverage.
Even though the game itself did not benefit from the controversy, postgame coverage lifted “SportsCenter” to its largest audience in at least 22 years.
Through Week 3, “Monday Night Football” has averaged an 8.6 U.S. rating and 13.358 million viewers — down a tick in ratings and 3% in viewership from last year (8.7, 13.731M), and down 9% and 11%, respectively, from 2010 (9.4, 14.979M).
As was the case last year, this marks the lowest average for “MNF” through Week 3 of the season since 2008 (8.3, 13.322M).
(Monday’s numbers and three-week averages from ESPN)