Call it the Johnny Football factor.

The presence of Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel provided a boost in the ratings as an average of 2.82 million took in the Browns-Detroit Lions preseason game for the highest-rated and most-watched preseason game in NFL Network history.

The August 9 preseason game between the Browns and Lions, which featured Manziel’s first action as a professional, set a rating and viewership record for a preseason game on NFL Network.

The Browns/Lions game was 36 percent higher in total viewership than the 2007 Hall of Fame game between the Saints and Steelers, the previous high for a preseason game on NFL Network.

 

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun