Playoff openers help league set TV ratings milestones

NEW YORK -- The playoffs' first two games set a slew of milestones for NFL television ratings.

The Seattle Seahawks' 41-36 upset of the New Orleans Saints on NBC earned the highest preliminary rating for the early Saturday wild-card game in two decades. The 18.3 overnight rating, with a 33 share, was the best since the Washington Redskins-Philadelphia Eagles game during the 1990 season and up 8 percent from last year's New York Jets-Cincinnati Bengals matchup.

The network said Sunday the two-game average of 19.4/33 was the best on Saturday since the 1994 season for Detroit Lions-Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs-Miami Dolphins.

The Jets' last-second 17-16 victory over the Indianapolis Colts earned the highest rating since the NFL began airing prime-time wild-card games in 2002. The 20.8/33 was the best for any Saturday wild-card game since Arizona Cardinals-Dallas Cowboys during the 1999 season. It was up 6 percent from last year's Eagles-Cowboys game.

Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program. Shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time. Overnight ratings measure the country's largest markets.

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