Boy, is NBC glad Tom Brady‘s four-game “Deflategate” suspension was overturned: The New England Patriots’ win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday matched the top overnight rating ever for an NFL Kickoff game, with a 17.7.
That number ties the 2010 Vikings-Saints season opener, which also had a marquee quarterback storyline. The game from five years ago opened Brett Favre’s second season as Minnesota’s quarterback — but at the time, it was known the season would be his last.
Thursday night owns at least one victory outright: The game‘s 30 share is the highest of all-time for the event.
New England’s victory was up 5 percent from last year (16.8 Green Bay-Seattle) in overnight ratings and up 9 percent from 2013 (16.2 for Ravens-Broncos).
Here are last night’s top markets:
West Palm Beach 22.4/39
Nielsen will release more accurate and final numbers later in the day. Overnight numbers are intended to be a preliminary measurement.