I guess none of us should be astounded that this happened last night.
I mean, the Super Bowl is our largest completely secular holiday. Has been for a long time. And so it stands to reason the TV ratings would continue to go up, even if the game matched a medium-sized market (Baltimore) vs. a market that isn't totally consumed by football (San Francisco).
Here's where it gets scary however: While the game drew a record 48.1 overall rating, it dropped only to 46.5 during the half-hour blackout delay. Which means that while there was essentially nothing whatever to watch, almost as many people were still watching it as tuned in to Super Bowl XLVI last year -- the second-highest rated Super Bowl (47.8) in history.
Now that is some ownage of the market, folks.