We knew the BCS National Championship TV ratings were pretty high for cable, and even higher, considering the game was a blowout. But those numbers just indicate an average of viewership over the course of the whole 42-14 beatdown.
Now we know exactly when people decided the massacre wasn't worth their time:
BCS Championship audience peaked at 9:09p with 34.5 mil viewers.— TVSportsRatings (@TVSportsRTGS) January 9, 2013
The game wasn't officially over until much later, but 9:09 p.m. ET is the moment America collectively decided Alabama would be the national champions.
What was happening at that point in time? Alabama was up 14-0 and methodically driving, a possession that would see them bring the ball to the one-yard line. Amari Cooper would catch a route to the corner to get him to about the five-yard line, there'd be a commercial break signifying the end of the first quarter, and after that, the Tide would punch it in to go up 21-0. Alabama would score two more unanswered TD's, but viewers had apparently decided they'd had enough and flipped around to see if something interesting was on.
That's right, Notre Dame. You didn't get a quarter. We might have short attention spans, but that's just impressive.
How did I find out exactly when 9:09 was? Easy: ESPN offers a replay of its broadcast as part of its ESPN3 online streaming service. I located the moment at which Brent Musberger says,"YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE," at Sun Life Stadium, then went to my Twitter feed and found the exact moment when I and everybody else tweeted variations on that, found the timestamp - 8:03 p.m. - then went an hour and six minutes ahead in the broadcast. Yeah, I'm one of those meddling kids.