Donald Trump credits himself as giving the first GOP televised debate huge ratings. Tom Brady might do the same for Thursday night’s NFL season opener.

Tom Brady in 2011. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
With spared-from-suspension Brady throwing four touchdowns, the NFL Kickoff game between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers drew the second-largest audience in the 14-year history of the event, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Friday by Nielsen.

The Patriots’ 28-21 victory Thursday averaged 27.4 million viewers, trailing only the 2010 game between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings, which averaged 27.49 million viewers.

The viewership was the most for a prime-time program since the NCAA men’s basketball championship game on CBS averaged 28.26 million viewers on April 6.

The 12-minute kickoff show immediately preceding the game averaged 20.99 million viewers, while a 29-minute pregame show averaged 12.56 million viewers.

The night’s most-watched nonfootball program was a rerun of the CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory,” which averaged 7.68 million viewers.

— Staff and wire reports

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