Despite the blowout, Sunday's Super Bowl set a new record to total viewers

The Super Bowl set a new record for total viewers; and now NBC hopes for similar success with Winter Olympics.

Super Bowl XLVIII was a stinker. A shocking stinker, but a stinker nonetheless.

Yet, it set a record for viewers with 112.2 million. That figure was revised upward on Tuesday after initial reports had the figure at 111.5 million. Fox was happy to provide an update. No matter, 111.5 or 112.2 million, either was a record.

Yes, Seattle's win was the most-watched program in American television history. And the rating of 46.7 makes it the seventh-highest rated Super Bowl ever.

Why did this matchup resonate so much? Was it the No. 1 offense vs. No. 1 defense? Finding out Peyton's place in history? The New York flavor to all the proceedings?

No, I really believe it was a lot about the weather and I think people were intrigued by this outside-in-a-cold weather setting. Everyone wondered how the potential cold could affect a game that's normally played in pristine conditions. The fact that the bad weather never arrived was also part of the story.

Look, the weather forecast is the most common language of all Americans. That's why TV stations almost salivate at the potential for a storm and will tout their weather forecasts and expanded coverage.

The weather people have been living good this winter around here, haven't they?

If you don't know what to say somebody, but don't like an awkward silence, you'll break the monotony by saying: "Man, aren't you sick of this winter by now?"

The weather provided plenty of the pregame intrigue and drew people to the table, at least initially.

And they probably stayed with the game longer than expected because Peyton Manning was the quarterback on the team that fell behind.

Can you imagine if Denver led the game 22-0 at halftime? Viewers would have dropped like the Broncos' costly fumbles.

No one would have stayed watching after Bruno Mars' highly-energized performance.

No one would have ever given Russell Wilson a chance at a comeback and would have left the broadcast early.

People kept watching because they couldn't believe what they were seeing, and they stayed in very large numbers.


Who knows if NBC will have a ratings winner with the Winter Olympics, set to begin Thursday in Sochi, Russia, with the opening ceremonies to follow on Friday.

The threats of terrorism and the political tensions between the USA and Russia might bring more viewers to the table as long as compelling stories emerge.

And, more wintry weather expected in the Northeast over the weekend figures to be a plus for NBC because it'll keep more sports fans in the house looking for something to help get them through until March Madness kicks in.

However, winter sports may become less attractive to viewers when people know they've got to deal with snow and ice themselves in a much less desirable way.


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