NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Preliminary TV ratings show the Super Bowl is “on track to be the most-watched show in (U.S.) television history,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday.

Sunday’s game — in which the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 — bettered last year’s audience in the Nielsen Co.’s preliminary ratings measurement of big cities.

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The 2010 game between New Orleans and Indianapolis was the most-watched program in U.S. television history, with 106.5 million viewers.

Nielsen didn’t immediately have a viewership estimate for Sunday’s game. But in an overnight measurement of the nation’s 56 largest media markets, this year’s game had a 3 percent higher rating than last year’s.

The game also had a 71 share — meaning that more than two-thirds of the televisions being watched in the country at that time were watching the Super Bowl on the Fox network. That’s the highest audience share for a Super Bowl since 1982, a time when there were far fewer television networks as competition.

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“We’re excited about the fan reaction,” Goodell said.

Television ratings in general have been strong for the NFL this year, up 13 percent over last year, Nielsen said. Games on CBS, Fox and NBC averaged 20 million viewers, more than twice what networks get for their prime-time programming.

The most-watched moment of Sunday’s game was Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s final incomplete pass, which essentially clinched the game for Green Bay, according to TiVo Inc., the digital video recorder maker.

The average Super Bowl viewer with a DVR either paused, rewound or fast-forwarded 145 times during the game, TiVo said.


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Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.