A quick look back at the Saints-Vikes: Most watched NFC Championship game in 3 decades

I can envision Nowdy watching the game on her TV, watching Brett get the snot knocked out of him with the accompanying camera shots towards Deanna and Momma Favre as they looked on in helpless agony. Buddy it kicked them motherly instincts into overdrive as I soon found out after sticking my old post To the Superbowl and Beyond…. to the front page of Slabbed after Hartley made the field goal to end the game. Nowdy and the local Who Dat Nation were not alone watching the game as the Time Picayune’s Dave Walker explains:

The New Orleans Saints’ overtime playoff victory over the Minnesota Vikings was the most-watched non-Super Bowl TV broadcast since the May 1998 “Seinfeld” finale.

And it had a better ending.

With an average national audience of 57.9 million — 40 percent larger than last year’s NFC Championship Game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals — Sunday’s game was also the most-watched NFC Championship game in nearly three decades.

The January 1982 conference title playoff between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers — broadcast by CBS and won by Dwight Clark’s leaping, last-minute reception know as “The Catch” — attracted 68.7 million viewers nationally. The “Seinfeld” finale drew 76.3 million.

In New Orleans, the Saints-Vikings game had a 63.2 average rating, the largest local rating ever for an NFL postseason game, according to a Fox network news release.

The local Saints-Vikings rating eclipsed the previous high for an NFC playoff game in an individual city, a 59.5 in Milwaukee for the 1997 NFC Championship Game.

A local rating point represents 1 percent of total TV homes, or about 6,340 households in New Orleans.

“The people here completely love this team,” said Joe Cook, general manager of local Fox affiliate WVUE-Channel 8, purchased in 2008 by Saints owner Tom Benson. “You can’t compare it to any other situation.

Alright Nowdy we need you back on board with the rest of the Who Dats. Rather than focusing on the beating Brett took you should look at the good it did locally:

Dozens of New Orleans coaches and players shared their stories Monday after the greatest win in Saints history and one of the most celebrated moments the Crescent City has ever seen……

Punter Thomas Morstead said he had a group of 25 friends and family members in town. They rented a room at Oceana Grill and spent time watching the action from a balcony.

“It was amazing. I’ll never forget it,” said Morstead, who saw a second line break out with a huge crowd of people following a band. “They just didn’t want the songs to end.”

Other groups gathered at restaurants like Rock-n-Sake and Morton’s, and Coach Sean Payton had a back room filled with friends, family, team executives and VIP guests at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Harrah’s Hotel.

It took forever to get to those nearby destinations, but nobody was complaining about the traffic.

“As soon as we left the building, driving down the street it was crazy,” receiver Lance Moore said. “People were hanging out of their cars, honking their horns.”

Said Bush: “We sat in like an hour of traffic on the way to (Morton’s). On the way there, seeing people emotional, dancing in the streets and excited. Seeing people cry. I’m not sure if you would get that in too many other cities.

“It’s fun. I’m just glad I got to be a part of it.”

2 thoughts on “A quick look back at the Saints-Vikes: Most watched NFC Championship game in 3 decades”

  1. Not so much motherly instincts kicking in, Sop, as my sense of justice…nonetheless, I’ve been Saints fan – and Manning fan – since ’67…enjoyed reading about the celebration and thinking how healing it is for New Orleans to have sense of hope restored – just sorry it didn’t come from our government and courts after Katrina so victory could be “icing on the cake”.

  2. Dear Mr. Manning, As you are a great football player opposed to Saints there’s a new Brees of hope amoung the people here. So here is a Saints’ prayer for a black and gold Super Bowl along with a clean portion of sack attack from the Defense and Offense of a team ya paw played with.

    After 43 years, Archie Manning must be one of the most proudest person’s on earth and rightfully so. What’s the stats on a dad with two sons QBing major teams, as well one playing his old team The New Orleans Saints and them, finally getting there. I’ve got to wonder about what that feels like. But go Saints!

    WHO DAT!? All the way as they are already winners of hearts and minds. They might as well win the Bowl via la’ Black and Gold.

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