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Saints - Vikings thriller scores huge number for Fox

January 25, 2010 |  3:23 pm

Almost 60 million people watched Brett Favre throw the interception that snuffed out the Minnesota Vikings' hopes for a Super Bowl trip, the second biggest audience for a National Football Conference championship ever, according to Nielsen.

FAVRE The most-watched NFC championship game remains the January 1982 matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, which is famous for the last-minute touchdown pass Joe Montana threw to Dwight Clark to send the 49ers to their first-ever Super Bowl. That classic had an audience of almost 70 million people.

That yesterday's overtime battle between the Vikings and New Orleans Saints drew 57.9 million viewers in the age of cable and the Internet is pretty impressive. Although the Super Bowl generally attracts over 90 million viewers, that game has become a cultural event watched by many for the commercials and the halftime show.

CBS' coverage of the American Football Conference championship game between the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts (after more than 25 years, I still want to write Baltimore), wasn't chopped liver. About 47 million viewers tuned into see the Colts end the Jets' dream of a second trip to the Super Bowl. 

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Brett Favre. Credit: Brian Peterson / Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT