The marquee matchup that opened NBC’s regular-season “Sunday Night Football” prevailed in an unusually strong night of television highlighted by September 11-related programming and premieres of Fox’s sitcom lineup.
ABC’s controversial miniseries “The Path to 9/11” did respectable though not overwhelming numbers.
The Manning-vs.-Manning drama that pitted brothers Peyton and Eli — quarterbacks of the Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants, respectively — was the night’s most-watched program by a football field-sized margin, according to preliminary estimates from Nielsen Media Research.
“SNF,” which saw the Colts triumph 26-21 in NBC’s first regular-season NFL broadcast since 1997, averaged 20.7 million viewers and an 8.8 rating/19 share in the adults 18-49 demographic. Its demo rating was up 11% compared with last year’s 7.9 rating for the “Monday Night Football” opener; it also was higher than any “MNF” opener since 2000.