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Will Super Bowl XLVI be most watched show EVER?

Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants reacts

Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants reacts against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship. (Jan. 22, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

NBC is giddy Monday over the obvious repercussions of Sunday's remarkable games -- among the two best in AFC and NFC championship history. Not just because the games were great, and not just because a dream matchup is now at hand -- or even because  the prospect of a Giants-Patriots rematch was the network's single greatest fantasy -- after maybe discovering another "Seinfeld.

  No. For this reason: The last five Super Bowls have broken individual viewing records, while  last year's Green Bay/Pittsburgh game was seen by 111 million viewers, or 5,500,000 more than the year before, with New Orleans and Indianapolis. That telecast alone topped the 106 million for the "M*A*S*H" 1983 finale. (This just in: Yesterday's Ravens-Patriots game was seen by 48 million, or the most for an AFC champ telecast in 30 years.)

  Another stat in NBC's favor -- Super Bowl viewership has increased every year for the past five years, or by a total of 25 million.

  And of course an even larger benefit for NBC looms: "The Voice" airs afterward. The somewhat sluggish 11th season start to "American Idol" has been attributed in some measure to the "the Voice" and "X Factor" effect. (Too many singing competitions out there.)

 Will a Super Bowl supercharged "Voice" dampen "Idol" even further?  

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