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BOSTON (CBS) — Much attention has been focused on NFL ratings over the past two years, with theories abounding regarding the reasons behind some of the dips.

Whatever those reasons may have been, an AFC battle between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers proved to be impervious to the declining ratings.

Sunday’s 4:25 p.m. meeting between the AFC’s top two teams drew a 17.0 national rating on CBS, the highest national rating of any NFL game this season and CBS’ highest national rating for an NFL game since 2015 (Chiefs at Broncos, Patriots at Giants). It was also an 8 percent increase from last year’s Week 15 game in the same window.

The Patriots-Steelers showdown, which came down to the final seconds in thrilling fashion, was far and away the highest-rated game of the 2017 season. Its 17.0 rating was higher than Cowboys at Broncos in September (14.3), Eagles at Rams last week (13.7), Packers at Cowboys in early October (13.6) and Giants at Cowboys in Week 1 (13.4).

Locally in the Boston market, the game garnered a 39.7 household rating on WBZ-TV, which was the highest rating of any game over the past two years and was the most-watched television program of the week.

While one game doesn’t reverse a trend, the ratings success of Sunday’s thriller prove that above all else, when the product on the field is at its best, football fans will tune in to watch.

WBZ-TV is owned by CBS.

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