Saints' win over Vikings receives record television ratings

NEW YORK -- The NFL is off to a strong start in its TV ratings after drawing big numbers last season.

Thursday's Vikings-Saints opener earned the highest rating for a regular-season, prime-time game in 12 years. NBC said Friday that New Orleans' 14-9 win in a rematch of the NFC Championship drew a 16.5 rating and 28 share.

That's the best in prime time in the regular season since a Minnesota-Green Bay Packers game in 1998.

It's by far the highest rating for a Thursday night opener since the NFL started such games in 2002. The previous best was a 12.9/22 for Jets-Redskins in 2003.

The game drew a 60.0/78 in New Orleans and 43.8/64 in Minneapolis. Packers fans are clearly still following Brett Favre closely: The rating was 33.3/52 in Milwaukee.

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.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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