Sunday’s AFC Championship Game averaged 53.3 million viewers on CBS, making it the second-most-watched AFC title game in 39 years, the network announced Monday.
It also was the highest-rated AFC title game in 30 years, averaging 29.3 percent of homes and 51 percent of those with a television in use.
The 53.3 million viewership average has been exceeded in the past four decades only by the 54.9 million for the Jets-Steelers AFC Championship Game after the 2010 season.
The Broncos’ 20-18 victory over the Patriots was played in the late-afternoon TV window. The viewership figure was the most for any AFC or NFC title game played in the early window on championship game Sunday as far back as CBS records go, to 1978.
The AFC title game peaked at 62.9 million viewers from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
The NFC Championship Game on Fox Sunday averaged 45.7 million viewers and a 24.1 rating for the Panthers’ 49-15 victory over the Cardinals.