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Local ratings of NFL playoff games down 20 percent from last year

Western New York football fans haven’t been wild about the 2017 National Football League playoffs.

The 10 playoff games that ended with the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons qualifying for the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 averaged a 24.2 local rating, down 20 percent from the 30.1 a year ago.

Of course, NFL ratings were down this season, especially early when the presidential race was an attractive TV event. It didn’t help that only one of the 10 playoff games was close.

And despite the decline, a 24 rating still is about 50 percent higher than even the most popular regular prime time television program gets in 2017.

But you might have thought more viewers would have been drawn to watching the game’s top quarterbacks -- New England’s Tom Brady, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger.

New England’s 36-17 victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday was the highest-rated game this year with a 30.6 on WIVB-TV, the local CBS affiliate. It was the only 2016 playoff game that was above a 30 rating and it would have only been the sixth highest-rated playoff game in 2016.

And the Pats-Steelers rating was 25 percent lower than the 40.2 rating for Denver’s AFC title victory over New England a year ago, even though this year’s game was played in the late Sunday night window when ratings are expected to be higher.

Atlanta’s 44-21 victory over Green Bay had a 29.5 rating on WUTV, the local Fox affiliate. Carolina’s win over Arizona in the 2016 NFC final had 32.8 local rating when it was the late game.

The one close playoff game this season, Green Bay’s 34-31 victory over Dallas in the NFC semifinals, had a 29.3 rating in the late window. A year ago, Carolina’s win over Seattle in the NFC semifinals had a 34.0 rating in the early window when ratings are expected to be lower. So much for the Cowboys being a big draw here.

The trend makes it appear very unlikely that the local Super Bowl rating this year will approach the record 56.4 rating a year ago when Denver beat Carolina in a game carried by Channel 4.



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