The Golden Globes popped to the top of this week’s Twitter TV ratings, nearly beating out even the mighty NFL on a playoff weekend in terms of social-media heat, according to Nielsen. But it was still the NFL with the week’s biggest TV-related conversations on Twitter, even putting an NFL Network special announcing this year’s finalists  for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the top ten among the week’s Series & Specials.

All told, the Golden Globes hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for the third (and they say last) time sparked nearly 1.9 million tweets that reached an unduplicated audience of 10.4 million Twitter users during the broadcast and for the three hours before and after its conclusion. That was just a bit behind the biggest NFL divisional playoff game of the weekend, between perennial national favorites Green Bay and Dallas. That game generated a whopping 3 million tweets that reached nearly 11.2 million people.

In fact, a lengthy and comment-worthy show such as the Golden Globes is about the only sort of non-sports programming that can hope to compete with a big NFL game for the hearts and posts of Twitter-minded audiences. There’s that long red-carpet run-up before the broadcast, a three-hour-plus broadcast, and lots of good (and bad) lines and surprise winners from both film and TV to stir reaction.

Indeed, No. 2 this week on the series and specials side was another awards show, the People’s Choice Awards. Most of the rest of the week’s list included frequent visitors there, led by two broadcasts of American IdolThe one surprise was newcomer Empire, Fox’s hot new show about a warring family running a hip hop entertainment business, and starring blue chippers Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson.

The show’s strong debut likely benefitted from Idol on the same night, though it outstripped the venerable singing competition with about four times as many tweets and around 200,000 unduplicated audience. Likely a bigger help was the huge and vibrant community of African-American Twitter users, no doubt delighted to have the opportunity to watch a primetime, broadcast show with some significant cultural relevance mixed in with soapy drama.

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On the sports side, after the four NFL divisional playoff games at the top of the top 10, the NBA and even college basketball finally started to peek through, a harbinger of the football-less winter to come. Budding NBA power Golden State put two of its games in the top 10, against Oklahoma City and Cleveland (which, with MVP LeBron James, also had two in the top 10).

Meanwhile, Tobacco Road college teams made the top 10 too, with No. 2 Duke’s upset at the hands of nearby North Carolina State coming in a bit ahead of that other Research Triangle basketball power, North Carolina, as it took on Notre Dame. Bring on the tournament.

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As always, Nielsen attaches many caveats to its data, to wit:

Nielsen Social captures relevant Tweets from three hours before through three hours after broadcast, local time.  Unique Audience measures the audience of relevant Tweets ascribed to a program from when the Tweets are sent until the end of the broadcast day at 5am. Sports Events include those on Broadcast and National Cable Networks only across all day parts. For multicast events, networks are listed alphabetically and metrics reflect the highest Unique Audience across all airing networks.