Patriots and football ratings trump baseball

In his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI on Monday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked if he is a fan of the Boston Red Sox, and if he follows the baseball playoffs. He didn't hesitate.

"I sure am, and I have followed the playoffs," he said. "I've been impressed with their two wins over Tampa and hopefully they can sweep it tonight. I'm pulling for them."

Belichick isn't alone, and the topic got us thinking: How does fan interest in the Patriots/NFL compare to the Red Sox/baseball playoffs in this great market for pro sports?

One way to measure the answer is via television ratings in this market, and some of the most recent are laid out below:

Regular season, Week 4: Patriots at Falcons -- 36.0 rating

Playoffs, Game 2: Red Sox vs. Rays -- 18.7 rating

Regular season, Week 5: Cowboys vs. Broncos -- 17.3 rating

Preseason, Week 3: Patriots at Lions -- 15.4 rating

Playoffs, Game 1: Red Sox/Rays -- 14.1 rating

I was surprised to see a preseason Patriots game rate better than a baseball playoff game. Just as there was surprise to see a regular season game between two "out-of-market" teams (Cowboys-Broncos) outrate a baseball playoff game.

The ratings are fun to compare when gauging fan interest, and the oft-debated question: Is this truly a baseball or football town?