— The fourth quarter rating was nearly half of what it would have been if the game had been relatively close, as many viewers didn’t stick to the bitter end.
— Yet having said that, nearly 600,000 areas homes still were tuned in during the game’s final quarter-hour at 10:45 p.m., suggesting there are no limitations to how much punishment some Bears fans will endure.
All in all, the Bears’ 55-14 disaster made for a miserable night for NBC and WMAQ-Ch. 5. The game did a 25.0 on Ch. 5; 1 ratings point is worth 35,500 homes. While that still is a huge number, the rating would have been in the 30s with an even remotely competitive game. Bears fans were ready for the game, as the rating peaked at 31.5 at 7:45 p.m. Then the decline began.
8 p.m.: 30.0.
9 p.m. (Just before halftime): 27.9
10 p.m.: 21.4
10:45 p.m.: 16.7
Nationally, NBC did an 11.1 overnight rating of major markets, a direct result of being dealt the largest halftime deficit ever for a NFL primetime game at 42-0. The rating was off NBC’s average of 13.4 going into the game. The Bears continued a now remarkable streak of blowouts for NBC on “Sunday Night Football.” It was the eighth straight game decided by 18 points or more. The average victory margin in its last eight games now is 23.5 points.