Super Bowl is most-watched TV show in U.S. history -- again

The Super Bowl set a record as the most-watched television show in U.S. history for the third consecutive year.

The Nielsen Co. said Monday that an estimated average of 111.3 million people watched the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots on Sunday night in Super Bowl XLVI. That narrowly topped the 111 million who watched Green Bay's win over Pittsburgh last year.

On NFL Network
"NFL Replay" will re-air the Giants' 21-17 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. ET.

The game wasn't over until Tom Brady's last-second heave into the end zone dropped onto the turf. That play itself had the biggest audience of any play in the game, according to the digital video recorder maker Tivo. Nielsen said 117.7 million people were watching during the last half hour of the game.

The last two Super Bowls, along with the 2010 game between New Orleans and Indianapolis and the finale of "M-A-S-H" in 1983, are the only programs to exceed 100 million viewers in U.S. television history.

Madonna has some bragging rights, too. Her halftime show was seen by an estimated 114 million people -- a higher average than the game itself -- and was the most-watched Super Bowl halftime entertainment show on record, Nielsen said.

Its fans were disappointed, but Boston had its highest rating ever for an NFL game on Sunday. It was the second highest-rating ever in the New York market, behind only the Giants' first Super Bowl in 1986, Nielsen said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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