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Peyton Manning: Seven touchdown passes and big NFL opener ratings

Peyton Manning: Seven touchdown passes and big NFL opener ratings
Quarterback Peyton Manning walks off the field after throwing seven touchdown passes in Thursday's NFL opening game in Denver. (Joe Mahoney/Associated Press)

It's almost like people were ready for some football.

The NFL regular season came roaring back Thursday night with an opener between the Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos — led by star quarterback Peyton Manning — that was watched live on NBC by nearly 24.8 million total viewers, according to early figures from Nielsen. This despite the fact that a lightning storm in Denver delayed the kickoff for 34 minutes. [Update: Later Nielsen figures showed 25.1 million watched the game.]

And the final figure will probably be higher, as early estimates tend to lowball live events such as football. Overall, the numbers were roughly in line with last year's New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys season opener.

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What did the millions get for their trouble? Touchdown passes, and plenty of them. Manning threw seven, making the game a fairly lopsided affair. Denver won 49-27. No NFL player had thrown as many TD passes since 1969.

What did you think of Manning's feat and the NFL kickoff game?

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