Perhaps Indianapolis Colts fans have already come to expect the unexpected from the team’s new franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck.
The television ratings from Sunday’s game would appear to indicate that is so.
Sunday’s home game against the Green Bay Packers scored a 33.7 rating, meaning on average, 361,265 central Indiana households tuned in to the contest broadcast locally on WXIN-TV Channel 59.
First let’s put that into perspective. Then let’s break the rating down to show what fans think about this team and its quarterback.
For perspective, the Colts rating easily topped that of the Denver Broncos-New England Patriots game played later Sunday afternoon. That game, which aired locally on WISH-TV Channel 8, garnered a 22.3 rating, which translates to 239,060 TV households.
Just more than 35 percent of area households watching TV had on the game featuring Peyton Manning’s new team. Compare that to the Colts game, where more than 56 percent of the TV’s on at that time had the Indianapolis-Green Bay game on.
Maybe Peyton’s star is fading just a bit here. Luck’s is certainly not.
When you take a closer look at the TV ratings, it’s clear that few people gave up on Luck or the Colts even when things looked dire. At halftime of Sunday’s game, trailing 21-3, things looked pretty grim for the Luck-led Colts.
You’d expect a TV ratings drop late in the second and early in the third quarters. But that barely happened. Maybe Manning taught Colts fans during his 13 active seasons here that you can never count out a franchise quarterback. Clearly Indy fans are beginning to believe Luck fits the franchise QB mold.
At 1 p.m., just before kick-off, the game had a 26.4 rating and 50.2 share. That climbed to 33 and 57.2 at 1:45 p.m., stabilized until 2:45 p.m., when it dipped to a 28 rating with 46.6 share. That’s still pretty strong when comparing it to the Denver-New England game, a marquee matchup even if you don’t have the connection to Manning most Hoosiers do.
As Luck and Reggie Wayne—along with the team’s defense—found their legs in the second half, the TV audience ratings and share quickly ramped up.
At 4:30 p.m. as the Colts capped off their unlikely victory, the rating in the local market hit 41.3 (442,740 households), with almost 64 percent of all TVs on at the time tuned into the game.
In the world of fractionalized audiences and 200-plus-channel cable packages, the NFL still delivers a truly mass audience.
And that audience in Indianapolis is quickly coming to expect their new franchise quarterback to simply deliver—no matter how dire things seem.