The Super Bowl always has provided an extraordinary number of viewers. But it wasn’t the most-watched program in U.S. television history -- until Sunday.

The Saints’ 31-17 victory over Colts was watched by an estimated average of 106.5 million viewers on CBS, meaning it surpassed the final episode of M*A*S*H in 1983 (106 million) to become the most-watched program in television history according to Nielsen.

CBS’ coverage had a fast national household rating of 45.0 and a 68 share, up 7 percent from last year’s 42.0 rating and 64 share for Pittsburgh’s victory over Arizona.

Sunday’s game was the highest-rated Super Bowl in 14 years.

Locally, the game had a 51 rating and 75 share on WCCO (Ch. 4). That placed the Twin Cities 15th out of the 50-plus metered markets in the United States, an improvement from last season when the Steelers’ victory had a 43.4 rating and 67 share on NBC affiliate KARE (Ch. 11). That put Minneapolis-St. Paul 28th out of the 56 metered markets.

New Orleans was the top-rated market with a 56.3 rating and 82 share on Sunday. The rating is the percentage of the total population of televisions tuned to a particular prorgram; share is the percentage of televisions actually in use.