Behind Taylor Swift, Chiefs-Jets is NFL's second-most watched game of 2023 regular season

The NFL's "Sunday Night Football" game between the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets averaged 27 million viewers, making it the most-watched television program airing on a Sunday since Super Bowl 57, according to NBC.

Super Bowl 57, which aired on FOX, is the most-watched television program in history, averaging 115.1 million viewers.

The Chiefs' 23-20 victory, which was viewed in person by pop superstar Taylor Swift and many other celebrities, peaked at 29.4 million viewers between 9:30-9:45 p.m. ET, when the Jets fought back from a 17-0 first-quarter deficit to get within eight points in the second quarter.

It was the second-most watched game this season, behind the opening night game between the Chiefs and Detroit Lions, which was viewed by 27.5 million people and also broadcast by NBC.

There were a couple big reasons viewers tuned in:

October 1, 2023 : Taylor Swift, a guest of Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, cheers during the game at MetLife Stadium.
October 1, 2023 : Taylor Swift, a guest of Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, cheers during the game at MetLife Stadium.

The "Swifties" effect

Taylor Swift and her much-speculated relationship with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has become a national story in recent weeks. Swift attended the Chiefs' home game the week before against the Bears and, on Sunday, was the focus of NBC cameras whenever they had the opportunity to show her.

According to the Athletic, Swift was shown 17 different times during the game and the viewership numbers no doubt included fans of Swift who were not football fans and wanted to see her on television regardless of the circumstances. NBC said that viewership among teen girls (age 12-17) rose 53% from the season-to-date average of the first three weeks of Sunday Night Football.

Aaron Rodgers vs. Patrick Mahomes delayed

When the NFL schedule was released in May, the game was to feature two premier quarterbacks with newly acquired Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a four-time NFL MVP, and the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, the reigning league MVP. But Rodgers was injured in the first game against the Buffalo Bills, tearing his Achilles tendon.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Taylor Swift helps Chiefs-Jets be second-most watched NFL game in 2023