The NFL conference championship games did some massive numbers Sunday. The AFC title game, with the Denver Broncos prevailing in an afternoon squeaker over the New England Patriots, attracted 53.3 million viewers on CBS.
The evening game, on Fox, had the Carolina Panthers trounce the Arizona Cardinals for the NFC title. Some 45.7 million watched that one.
CBS called Broncos-Patriots the second most-watched AFC championship game in the past 39 years; Jets-Steelers in 2011 had just shy of 55 million viewers. It was also the most watched early-window AFC or NFC conference championship game on any network as far back as CBS records go, which is 1978.
Sunday's two-game average of 49.7 million is up 8% over last year's conference championship matches.