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Peyton Manning’s Broncos start drives ‘Football’ ratings record

Peyton Manning may wear a different color jersey, but he’s still a star.

Manning’s official start as quarterback of the Denver Broncos tied the viewership record for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” with 27.5 million total viewers tuning in for the Broncos’ 31-19 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to Nielsen.

That’s the same figure (after rounding) as last year’s Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants game that decided the NFC East championship.

In addition, it was the most watched regular-season NFL game in 16 years -- since a Green Bay Packers-Cowboys matchup in 1996 that drew 31.5 million.

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Manning, who became one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks during his 14 years with the Indianapolis Colts, missed the entire 2011 season due to a neck injury. After the team released him, he signed with Denver in March in a heavily publicized five-year deal worth a reported $96 million.

What do you think of Manning and his new gig?

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-- Scott Collins

twitter.com/@scottcollinsLAT

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