Week 16 Wrap: “MNF” Hits Season-Low For Saturday Night Finale


Airing on the lowest rated night of the week, an unappealing game between the Falcons and Lions hit a season-low on ESPN.

The Week 15 Falcons/Lions “Monday Night Football” game drew a 6.0 U.S. rating and 9.7 million viewers on ESPN Saturday night, according to Nielsen fast-nationals — down 35% in ratings and 38% in viewership from Falcons/Saints last year (9.2, 15.6M), and down 46% and 49%, respectively, from Saints/Falcons in 2010 (11.2, 19.1M).

The game ranks as the lowest rated and least-viewed “MNF” telecast of the season. The previous lows were a 6.6 (two games) and 10.1 million viewers (Titans/Jets in Week 15).

In addition, the 6.0 rating is the lowest for an NFL telecast on ESPN since Jaguars/Texans in 2008 (5.9).

The low numbers can be attributed to a variety of factors — the Saturday night timeslot on a holiday weekend, the uncompetitive nature of the game, and the Lions’ 4-10 record.

Saturday’s game was the seventh of the season on ESPN to draw a 7.0 rating or lower, matching the total of the previous three seasons combined.

Final averages for “MNF” will be posted shortly.

(Saturday’s numbers from ESPN)