NEW YORK (AP) – NFL fans around the country took advantage of the opportunity to see Saturday night’s historic game.

An average of 34.5 million viewers watched the New England Patriots become the first team to go 16-0 in the regular season, the largest audience for an NFL non-playoff game in more than 12 years.

In most of the country, the Patriots’ finale against the Giants was originally scheduled to be shown only on the NFL Network, which is available in fewer than 40 percent of the nation’s homes with TVs.

The league announced Wednesday that it would simulcast the game on CBS and NBC. The matchup was already set to air on local stations in the Boston and New York areas.

The telecast drew in fans curious to see whether history would be made and kept them with a competitive contest, as the Patriots came back to win 38-35.

The 34.5 million viewers, according to fast national ratings, were the most since 35.7 million watched the Chiefs face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving 1995.

The game received a 24.0 rating and a 40 share in New York and a huge 50.1/75 in Boston.

The rating is the percentage of all homes with televisions watching the game, while the share is the percentage of TVs in use at the time that are tuned in to it.

Saturday’s game was the first three-way simulcast in league history.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.