Patriots Shoot Down Jets Before 16.5 Million 'MNF' Viewers


On a frosty night in Foxborough when the New England Patriots firmly established themselves in first-place in the AFC East, ESPN rang up its fifth-largest audience of the year with Monday Night Football.
New England's 45-3 dismantling of Rex Ryan's New York Jets averaged a 10 U.S. rating, 11.6 cable mark, 11.6 million households and 16.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen data.
MNF won the night among all programs -- broadcast or cable -- in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos, helping ESPN own the night among all networks in those same categories.
Through the first 13 weeks and 14 games of the 2010 NFL season, ESPN's MNF has averaged an 8.9 national rating, a 10.4 cable mark, 10.4 million households and almost 14.4 million viewers, essentially flat in all categories versus the 2009 campaign.
All told, MNF games rank as the 13 biggest audiences among households and the 10 biggest among total viewers for cable television in 2010, including the 2009 season finale between Minnesota and Chicago on Dec.28, 2009, which is part of the Nielsen 2010 calendar year.
The Jets-Patriots telecast now stands as the fifth-highest-ranked game in households and audience this Nielsen year and as cable television's 10th most-viewed program of all-time among households.