David Zurawik

Ravens TV: 22.1 million watched Ravens beat Steelers Sunday

An estimated 22.1 million viewers, the fourth largest audience of the TV year for NBC football coverage, tuned in Sunday night to see the Ravens dramatic last second victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

That's a huge audience -- as huge as that of "American Idol" in the show's glory years. In fact, it was the largest audience that any show -- sitcom, drama or reality series -- drew on television last week.

But what's up with Pittsburgh viewers tuning into the game at a much higher rate than those in Baltimore?  And the game was in Pittsburgh where tens of tousands of the most serious fans were in the stands instead  of being in front of their TVs.

I thought Baltimore fans were supposed to so committed. I hope some of my colleagues on sports radio will challenge area listeners about them getting beat out by fans in Pittsburgh Sunday.

While Baltimore viewers tuned in big-time with a 45 rating and a 63 share, in Pittsburgh, the game did a 53 rating and 71 share. (The rating is the percentage of all TV homes in the market, the share is the percentage of those turned on at that time.)

Almost three our of every four homes with a TV set in use Sunday night in Pittsburgh were tuned the game.

Here's the NBC release with the TOP 10 viewing cities:

The Baltimore Ravens 23-20 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football was seen by 22.1 million people, 14 percent higher than last year's Week 9 game (Cowboys-Packers, 19.4 million), and registered a household rating of 13.3/21 is up 15 percent from last year's Week 9 game (11.6/19).

Sunday Night Football ranked as the No. 1 primetime program of the week among households, viewers and the key adult and male demographics.

Through the first nine weeks of the NFL season (nine Sunday's and one Thursday), Sunday Night Football is averaging 21.4 million viewers, the most through this point in the season in the six-year history of SNF.

The nine-week average household rating of 12.8/20 ties last year as the best through the same point in the season in the six-year history of Sunday Night Football.

The critically acclaimed Football Night in America is averaging 9.0 million viewers and a household rating of 5.5/9 (7:30-8:15 p.m. ET) through the first nine weeks, both up 10 percent from last year's first nine weeks.

36 FOR 37: Sunday Night Football was the most-watched primetime show on Sunday night. This marks the 36th time in 37 primetime NFL games – dating back to Week 7 in 2009 – that NBC has defeated its competition (33 Sundays, two Thursdays and one Tuesday).

1. Pittsburgh, 53.0/71
2. Baltimore, 45.0/63
3. Las Vegas, 19.2/29
4. Cincinnati, 19.1/30
T5. Washington, D.C., 17.7/30
T5. Richmond, 17.7/26
7. New Orleans, 17.6/23
8. San Diego, 17.1/27
9. Memphis, 17.0/24
10. Cleveland, 16.7/27