The Super Bowl 2017 ratings were down slightly from last year despite the New England Patriots epic comeback in their 34-28 overtime win vs. the Atlanta Falcons. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
The historic overtime of Super Bowl LI pulled in 111.3 million viewers on Sunday night, down slightly from last year's game, according to Nielsen and Fox.
The average audience on Fox was down from the 111.9 million who watched Super Bowl 50 on CBS in 2016.
The Patriots, trailing 28-3 in the third quarter, scored two touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions in the final six minutes of the fourth quarter and another TD on the first possession of overtime to stun the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Fox said an additional 1.72 million viewers used online streaming to watch the telecast, plus 650,000 more from a Spanish-language simulcast on Fox Deportes, giving the network a total average audience at 113.7 million viewers.
Super Bowl LI ranks as the fourth most-watched TV event of all time. The viewing record was set in 2015 with NBC's telecast of Super Bowl XLIX -- won by the Patriots over the Seattle Seahawks and watched by an average audience of 114.4 million viewers.
Fox drew a 48.8 overnight rating for the first Super Bowl to ever go to overtime, compared to last year's 49.0 overnight in Super Bowl 50.
The Patriots won their fifth championship in seven Super Bowls for the tandem of quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick.
Meanwhile, Belichick spoke passionately Monday morning at the traditional Super Bowl MVP/head coach news conference when he was asked whether Brady might have been motivated by vengeance this season in the wake of Deflategate.
Brady, who was suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for four games to open the 2016 season, was presented a silver football, the trophy for the Super Bowl MVP, by Goodell for the fourth time in his career.
"I think it's really inappropriate to suggest that in Tom's career that he's been anything other than a great teammate, a great worker, and has given us every single ounce of effort, blood, sweat and tears that he has in him," Belichick said Monday.
"To insinuate that this year is somehow different, that he competed harder or did anything to a higher degree than he ever has in the past I think is insulting to the tremendous effort, and leadership and competitiveness that he's shown for the 17 years I've coached him. It's been like every year, every day, every week, every practice. Tom Brady gives us his best every time he steps on the field."