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Why Were Giants vs. 49ers Ratings So Much Better than Patriots vs. Ravens?

The NFL has been dominating the TV ratings game all year long and Sunday proved to be no exception. Both conference championship showdowns did relatively well, but it was FOX’s New York Giants versus San Francisco 49ers thriller that ultimately brought in massive totals.

According to the good folks at The Big Lead (via @JohnOurand), Giants vs. 49ers pulled in an estimated 57 million viewers. That many eyeballs and the 33.4 rating it generated (plus the other game's totals) was good enough to earn Sunday the title of “most-watched Conference Championship Sunday in 30 years" from the NFL. Meanwhile, Patriots vs. Ravens ended up pulling a 29.1 overnight rating – a figure down from the 31.4 total that the New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers matchup from last year generated.

While the FOX game’s impressive figures are completely unsurprising, it's odd that Patriots vs. Ravens ended up bringing in such a noticeably smaller tally. After all, New England -- what with Tom Brady at the helm and all -- is a consistent threat to score mountains of points on the opposition, and a prospective offense versus defense battle is always intriguing. Factor in Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and the rest of the aging Baltimore defense being on its last legs, and you have all of the makings of a can’t miss showdown.

What do you think? Why did the CBS game do so much worse than the FOX game that aired directly afterwards?

(Kudos to The Big Lead via @JohnOurandfor the details)

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