It's not exactly a secret that the NFL is a ratings monster and with the playoffs in full swing there was always going to be some question as to the impact that a late playoff game on Saturday would have on the pay-per-view buys for UFC 142. Then Tim Tebow happened.
Denver was expected to be bounced from the playoffs in the first round by the Steelers only to pull off yet another improbable win, this time on an 80 yard touchdown pass by Tebow in overtime.
At this point, Tebow is a must-see national phenomenon, regardless of what side of the "is he actually any good?" debate you find yourself on.
See the ratings info from last week's game:
According to a tweet by league spokesman Greg Aiello, the overtime game won by the Broncos was the "most-watched Wild Card game ever w/42.4 million viewers, & most-watched TV program since Super Bowl XLV."
According to Boston.com, the game earned a 25.9 overnight Nielsen rating. (A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes).
Saturday night the Broncos face the New England Patriots at 8 p.m. in what is sure to be a game that draws incredible ratings.
While there is certainly a base of MMA fans who order nearly every UFC card, there is a large portion of the audience the promotion attempts to draw from that is simply the curious and bored looking for some excitement on a Saturday night. There will be almost none of that with a football game featuring a national sensation (Tebow), a proven constant title contender (Patriots) with incredible meaning (playoffs) going up against the pay-per-view.
A card headlined by a bout between Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo was never likely to do huge numbers. But will the combination of a main event with little mass audience appeal and a football game that goes beyond the sport actually contribute to a card that doesn't break the 200,000 buy mark on PPV?
I have a feeling the answer will be yes.