NFL reportedly mulling over more Sunday prime-time playoff games

Believe it or not, the playoff game between the Steelers and Chiefs was actually the first-ever postseason game to be played on a Sunday night.

Before this year, the Sunday playoff setup was pretty simple: The NFL would put one game in the 1 p.m. ET window and a second game somewhere in the 4 o'clock hour. However, the league had to call an audible this year and move the Steelers-Chiefs game to prime time due to inclement weather that was scheduled to hit the Kansas City area.

Although Sunday's late game was a first, it might not be the last. According to ESPN.com, the NFL is going to consider moving future Sunday playoff games to prime time. The league is going to look at the ratings and then move forward from there, which means we should probably get used to these late-night contest because the game in Kansas City ended up doing pretty well.

The Steelers-Chiefs had an average audience of 37.1 million viewers, making it the most watched prime-time playoff football game in NFL history. The game also drew a 21.9 rating. The previous record came in January 2014 when 34.4 million viewers watched the Saints play the Eagles.

With the Steelers and Chiefs in prime time, that means no 1 p.m. game this on Sunday. The NFL might not want to eliminate that window though because it hasn't done horrible. During last year's divisional round, the 1 p.m. window saw an average of 36.7 million viewers for a game between the Seahawks and Panthers. That Seattle-Carolina game drew a 23.1 rating, which was actually higher than the 21.9 rating for the Steelers-Chiefs game.

Anyway, if the NFL wants a huge audience, all they need to do is let the Cowboys play in every playoff game. The Packers game in Dallas on Sunday drew a 28.2 rating, which was the highest divisional round playoff rating in 20 years. It drew a total audience of 48.5 million, making it the most watched divisional game in NFL history. That number also beat out the total audience for last year's NFC title game (45.7 million).

To give you an idea of how high that rating is, it beats out Game 7 of the 2016 World Series (25.2 rating) and Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals (18.9 rating).

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories