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Buffalo is top-rated NFL market outside of cities with teams trying to make Super Bowl

You didn’t need Tony Romo to predict that the Buffalo TV market would be near the top of cities watching the National Football League conference championships Sunday.

But even Romo might not have predicted how high the ratings would have been here for the Los Angeles Rams’ 26-23 overtime victory over the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots’ 37-31 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Rams' win in the first game of the doubleheader on a day of severe weather in Buffalo had a 34.5 rating game on WUTV.

That made Buffalo’s Fox affiliate No. 3 nationwide, behind only New Orleans (59.5) and Kansas City (37.7), which had an extra reason to watch since one city had a team in the game and the other had a chance to play the winner in the Super Bowl. The Los Angeles market had a 26.4 rating, slightly above the national rating for the game at 24.5.

Of course, bigger markets like Los Angeles get considerably more viewers with lower ratings than smaller markets like Buffalo and New Orleans with higher ratings. One rating point in Los Angeles, the nation’s No. 2 market, is worth about 53,000 homes. A rating point in Buffalo is worth about 6,000 homes.

The 34.5 rating in Buffalo was more than 25 percent higher than the 27.1 rating in Buffalo for Philadelphia’s 38-7 rout of Minnesota in last year’s NFC title game carried by WUTV in the late game.

Nationally, Sunday's game had a 24.5 household rating.

Rex Burkhead (34) of the New England Patriots celebrates with James Develin (46) after scoring the game-winning touchdown to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime during the AFC Championship Game Sunday. (David Eulitt/Getty Images)

The rating for the Patriots’ overtime win once again proved Buffalo loves to hate Tom Brady and his teammates.

The game had a 38.7 rating on CBS affiliate WIVB-TV (Channel 4), with Buffalo having the highest rating in the country among cities that didn’t have a team in the game. That was up from a 36.4 rating in Buffalo for the Patriots’ 24-20 win over Jacksonville last year in the early game of the doubleheader.

The only markets with a higher rating were No. 1 Kansas City (60.1), No. 2 Boston (58.5) and No. 3 Providence, which is a Patriots city, with a 45.6 rating.

Nationally, the game was the second most-watched AFC title game in 42 years with a 27.5 fast national rating.

About 230,000 households in Buffalo that were watching the game were treated to another example of why Romo quickly has been considered the best analyst in the game.

He predicted so many big plays by the Patriots before they occurred that you almost felt like he was inside quarterback Tom Brady’s mind when Brady killed plays for an audible after looking at the Chiefs' defensive scheme.

He knew Brady was going to target tight end Rob Gronkowski before a big catch just by looking at the defensive scheme and predicted a Rex Burkhead touchdown run by looking at the scheme as well.

He wasn’t even wrong the one time he was wrong when the Patriots were stopped on a fourth-down run. The play call surprised Romo. He wasn’t wrong; the play call was wrong.

Romo’s accurate prediction rate was so high that it led to many funny comments on Twitter in which people tweeting were asking him to predict their futures.

My best shot was saying Romo "was so good I wish he predicted Buffalo weather."

My favorite Romo tweet was the one that said the analyst knows what is inside special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

Channel 4 viewers were annoyed again because of the intermittent problems with the game feed and concerned it might happen again when CBS carries the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. It isn’t a CBS issue.

Dominic Mancuso, the Channel 4 general manager, explained the provider of the fiber for the master control hub in Springfield, Mass., is trying to fix the problem.

He predicts it is “doubtful” the problem will persist during the Super Bowl.

“Because we put a lot of heat on the provider,” said Mancuso.

Let’s hope he is as accurate in his prediction as Romo.


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