NFL preseason games are typically uneventful and unwatched, especially after the starters for each team exit the game in the second quarter.
The ratings from the game tell a different story, as viewers from across the nation made Johnny Manziel's debut in a Browns uniform the most watched preseason game in NFL Network history.
As NFL stated in a blog post today, the game set a preseason rating and viewership record for the NFL Network, which has been televising preseason games for the past 11 seasons.
According to the NFL, the Browns-Lions broadcast drew a 1.81 U.S. HH rating. In other words, 1.81 percent of all U.S. households with a television were tuned into the game. An average of 2.82 million Americans watched the Browns lose to the Lions, 13-12.
How long the new record will stand remains to be seen, but the numbers are impressive. Without a doubt, Manziel is a huge, national draw, whether you like him or not. The ratings from NFL Network only confirm the obvious – people want to see if Manziel is the real deal.
ESPN will likely see a ratings boost Monday as well, as the Browns vs. Redskins game will be featured on a preseason edition of Monday Night Football on August 18. Especially if Manziel starts, the game could receive comparable, if not better ratings.