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Hockey classic shows football's in front

Posted by Albert Breer  March 2, 2010 09:55 AM

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nfl-football-schedule-2009.jpgIf you didn't enjoy the hockey the other day (unfortunately, I was airborne for overtime ... Rats!!!), then it's hard to see what about sports you do like.

And I don't want to rain on the parade of the puckheads here.

But these events always seem to provide perspective on the popularity of football in this country. In that regard, the US-Canada gold-medal game on Sunday delivered.

The game drew 27.6 million viewers, an immense number that dwarfs most of those posted by the NBA Finals and World Series over the last decade. Yet, it wasn't among the Top 10 rated sporting events on TV in 2010. The hockey was out-rated by nine of the NFL's 11 playoff games, and also beaten out by the BCS National Championship Game.

Pretty incredible. Take a look ...

1) Super Bowl XLIV (Saints-Colts): 106.5 Million Viewers
2) NFC Championship (Vikings-Saints): 57.9 Million
3) AFC Championship (Jets-Colts): 46.9 Million
4) NFC Divisional Playoff (Cowboys-Vikings): 37.7 Million
5) AFC Divisional Playoff (Jets-Chargers): 35.6 Million
6) NFC Wild Card Playoff (Packers-Cardinals): 34.4 Million
7) NFC Wild Card Playoff (Eagles-Cowboys): 32.1 Million
8) BCS National Championship (Texas-Alabama): 30.8 Million
9) AFC Divisional Playoff (Ravens-Colts): 30.6 Million
10) NFC Divisional Playoff (Cardinals-Saints): 27.9 Million
11) U.S.-Canada Gold Medal Hockey: 27.6 Million
12) AFC Wild Card Playoff (Ravens-Patriots): 27.4 Million
13) AFC Wild Card Playoff (Jets-Bengals): 25.0 Million

... More proof of the monster football has become in this country. Now, this doesn't hold true here, but nationwide, the order of popularity goes like this: 1) NFL ... 2) College Football ... 3) Everything Else.

And that's why you have to hope that all the labor strife we're seeing now gets resolved before things get really ugly. Because these guys have a pretty good thing going.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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