Inside the Cardinals' TV ratings spike

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Cardinals have had to sweat through a couple blackout extensions this season, but people in Arizona are watching their games one way or another.

Ratings are up 42 percent from this time last year, the largest percentage increase in the NFL, according to the team.

The four broadcasts have generated a 20.3 rating and 38 share. The first four last season generated a 14.3 rating and 30 share.

The team's Super Bowl run could be helping ratings.

Also, the Cardinals have played three of their first four at home this season. They played three of their first four on the road in 2008. Having fewer home games this season would drive up ratings, I suspect, because fans who would have attended a home game would watch on TV instead. Having a Sunday night game against Peyton Manning and the Colts also helped this season.

Phoenix also might arguably be a bit of a bandwagon town, and past Cardinals teams haven't done much to win them over. Fans probably weren't expecting much entering last season, when the team waited until one week before the opener to name Kurt Warner the starter.