According to early ratings numbers, Sunday night’s Eagles-Cowboys match-up couldn’t have come at a better time for NBC and the NFL.
Nationally, the Eagles’ dominating 37-9 win over the Cowboys, their worst lost at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, earned a 13.5 household rating and a 22 share in metered market ratings (not including digital), the best for any NFL prime time game since Week 1, according to numbers obtained by Nielsen.
Each household rating point represents one percent of the homes with televisions, translating roughly to 1.12 million homes. So last night’s game drew an estimate audience of 15.1 million households. Not only was the game easily the most watched program on prime time, it’s up 13 percent over last year’s Week 11 match-up between the Packers and Washington.
Live streaming numbers will be released later Monday afternoon.
Locally, the Eagles drew a massive 35.3 household rating (1,012,961 homes) and a 52 share for NBC10, the best Sunday Night Football rating in Philadelphia since 2013, when the Eagles defeated the Cowboys 24-22 in Week 17, earning a spot in the playoffs in Chip Kelly’s first year as head coach. That game drew a 40 household rating and a 38 share.
The game also drew a sizable 30 household rating (794,550 homes) and a 47 share in the Dallas/Ft. Worth market, welcome news for the NFL considering ratings were down last week during the Cowboys blowout loss to the Falcons. The local ratings for that game were lowest out of the five games Dallas has played in the national 4:25 p.m. slot this season.
Other top markets for Sunday night’s Eagles win were San Antonio (25.6/39), Austin (21.9/39) and Richmond (21.7/32).
The numbers are good news for Sunday Night Football, which had seen a ratings decline of 8 percent this season compared to last year, according to Sports Business Daily’s Austin Karp.
On Monday morning, President Trump once again weighed in on protesting NFL players and boasted about the league’s television ratings decline.
Marshawn Lynch of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders stands for the Mexican Anthem and sits down to boos for our National Anthem. Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2017
While ratings are down for the NFL this season as a whole (for a multitude of reasons), Trump was wrong about attendance numbers. Through 10 weeks of the 2017 season, the average attendance at NFL games was actually up slightly, from 68,914 per game in 2016 to 69,264 per game this season.
The ratings win for NBC could also be good news for Eagles fans as the NFL considers which upcoming games it might want to flex into primetime. Fox didn’t protect the Week 14 match-up between the Eagles and the Rams, which is currently scheduled for a regional 4:25 p.m. window. It would certainly be a better draw than that week’s current Sunday Night Football match-up between the Ravens and the Steelers.
If the NFL does flex the Eagles-Rams game into primetime, it would mean a national audience would be treated to Carson Wentz and the Birds three out of four weeks. In addition to last night’s win, the Eagles also play on Sunday Night Football on Week 15 against the Seahawks in Seattle.
It’s not uncommon for Sunday Night Football to have the same team in back-to-back weeks. Last year, the NFL flexed Tampa Bay-Dallas to prime time on Dec. 18 just a week after the Cowboys took on the Giants on Sunday night, Dec. 11. And in 2013, the Eagles were flexed into Sunday Night Football in Weeks 16 and 17 during Kelly’s first season as head coach.
The NFL would have to make the final decision 12 days before the game, so we’ll know for sure by Nov. 28.