Don't tell TV viewers or WKBW-TV's advertisers that the fourth National Football League preseason game is meaningless.
The Buffalo Bills' 27-17 victory over the Detroit Lions in Thursday night's preseason finale also was a win for WKBW (Channel 7).
The three-hour game had a 20.7 rating on Channel 7, making it the highest-rated game of the preseason and the highest-rated local TV program of the summer.
The Bills' 13-9 loss to Baltimore last Saturday had been the summer high with a 20.1 rating on the local ABC affiliate during game time.
The first four preseason games of the Sean McDermott coaching era tentatively averaged a 19.9 rating during game time, which is about 18 percent higher than a year earlier. The four preseason games a year ago in Coach Rex Ryan's second and final season when expectations were diminished averaged a 17.0 rating. But the four preseason games in Ryan's first season when expectations were high averaged a 23.5 rating.
Bills regular season games generally average in the mid-to-high 30s or low 40s.