It probably comes as no surprise to anyone who watches NFL football that last night's, 10/20/2013, NBC Sunday Night Football (SNF) game between the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos broke the TV ratings record for an NFL game in October. The return of QB Peyton Manning to his former team's stadium drew a 17.3% ratings share, the fourth most-watched SNF game in history.
The Colts defeated Manning and the Broncos, 39-33, last night. And to the victor, went the social media spoils. As the Colts also defeated the Broncos, in terms of Twitter mentions, with a final score of 50,000 (#Colts) to 41,000 (#Broncos) mentions between the hours of 7:00 PM to 12:00 AM EST. With the peak mentions for each team coming between the hours of 11:00 PM and 12:00 AM.
Much like the game itself, #Broncos took an early lead by almost 2,000 tweets in the 7:00 PM hour, only to be overtaken in mentions after Colts punter Pat McAfee absolutely demolished Broncos kick returner, Trindon Holliday.
The hashtag #boomstick, McAfee's reference to his kicking leg, took on a new meaning after the hit, as the hashtag went from zero mentions in the 7:00 hour to over 2,000 after the stick on Holliday.
The unofficial hashtag for the game, #WarOf1812, peaked at around 400 mentions in the 7:00 PM hour and had an unusual bell curve trend to its trending pattern. Suggesting its extremely specific usage. The hashtag should come as great example for social media managers to study, as its clever and unique usage allowed it to easily be tracked over the night, with very few outlying tweets and messages.
Finally, it would not be a Colt's rivalry game without mention of Tom Brady. He trended shortly in the midnight hour after Colts CB, Vontae Davis, accidentally stated that the Colts had "prepared very hard for Tom Brady" last week.