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Notes: Lions vs. 49ers NFC Championship Game draws massive ratings

Maybe not the most ideal game for it, but a strong feat no less.

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NFC Championship - Detroit Lions v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

For better or for worse, there were a monumental number of eyes on the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

The NFC Championship Game drew 56.6 million viewers — the most-watched telecast since last year’s Super Bowl, per The Athletic. The good? A lot of people seemingly cared about the Lions. The bad? A lot of people saw that epic meltdown.

These viewership numbers beat both of last year’s conference championship games — the 2023 AFC Championship featuring the Chiefs against the Bengals at 6:30 p.m. ET averaged 53.12 million viewers on CBS, while the NFC game featuring the Eagles vs. the 49ers reached 47.5 million viewers in the earlier window.

The Lions game also drew the most viewers for a FOX telecast of this round of the playoffs since 2012, ranking as the fourth-most watched non-Super Bowl telecast in network history.

An extra interesting tidbit from The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch:

“What it signals is not only the NFL’s popularity but its popularity relative to every other sport that airs in the United States. Think about this: The college football national championship game between Michigan and Washington earlier this month drew a whopping 25 million viewers, the best audience for that sport since the 2020 national championship. That viewership is less than half of what the Niners and Lions drew on Sunday.”

And onto the rest of your notes. We’ll keep it brief.

  • Mitch Albom describes in an article for the Detroit Free Press what we’re all likely feeling — pain even two days later.

  • A couple of Lions reflect on the game and/or season over on X:

  • The Lions season is over and free agency is on the horizon. Our friend Mike Payton suggests three players who may end up cap casualties.

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