NFL ratings down despite Tim Tebow factor
NFL games tumbled 2.1% overall in the ratings compared with last season, according to an analysis of Nielsen data provided Thursday by New York ad firm Horizon Media.
NBC's Sunday games averaged the most viewers — 21.5 million, down 1.4% compared with last year.
ESPN, which carries the popular "Monday Night Football," showed the greatest slippage, off 9.6% for a 13.3-million viewer average.
Fox, which has the rights to NFC games, was flat with 20.1 million, while CBS — which carries some AFC contests — lost 1.5% to 18.4 million.
The big winner? The league's NFL Network, which jumped 10.8% to 6.2 million.
The most-watched game of the season was the Thanksgiving matchup on CBS between Miami and Dallas, with 30.9 million tuning in.
So how were the ratings for Tebow, who guided his Broncos to a wild-card spot and became a national sensation thanks to his open piety?
Well, not bad. The NFL Network drew 7 million — one of its best audiences this season — for a November Broncos game. But that might have had something to do with the competition: Denver was playing the New York Jets.
—Scott Collins (twitter.com/scottcollinsLAT)
Photo: Tim Tebow's celebrity hasn't been enough to lift NFL ratings this season. Credit: Jack Dempsey / Associated Press.