Friday's Christmas night game where the San Diego Chargers drubbed the Tennessee Titans 42-17 still managed to average 6.9 million on the NFL Network.
For 2009, NFL Network averaged 5.5 million viewers for its eight game slate, a 49% jump from the 3.7 million for the 2008 season (though only a 20% jump over the 4.6 million in 2007, though I'm not sure how that counted the Patriots-Giants last game of the regular season where the Patriots were undefeated and the Saturday night contest wound up being syndicated nationwide).
And in a bit of chest-thumping the NFL Network points out its primetime package was better than the 4.8 million TNT and ESPN averaged with the 2009 NBA playoffs and also better than TBS's MLB postseason average of 5.1 million viewers.
And sure, the NBA and MLB are averaging those numbers over more games and there's no doubt that the NFL is the favorite sports league in the United States, but I'll allow NFL Network a little bit of chest-thumping since it's still available in less than 50% of the homes in the U.S. while TBS, TNT and ESPN are all available in more than 86% of homes. Some of the year over year gains can be attributed to NFL Network being available in more than 13 million more homes this season vs. last, mostly due to working out a deal for carriage with Comcast.