The Cowboys and Buccaneers opened up the 2021 NFL season with an absolute thriller on Thursday night — and the TV ratings for the contest reflect that opening-game excitement.
According to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, last night’s Thursday Night Football broadcast on NBC hit a five-year high in overnight ratings. A 15.9 score, not even including at-home viewing, was up 16-percent from last year’s opening game.
The broadcast averaged about 22 million viewers, per TVLine.com
Overnights: NBC’s coverage of the Cowboys-Bucs game hit a five-year high in the overnights, source says. The 15.9 overnight is up 16% from last year. This number does not include out-of-home viewing, so the final national number is almost certain to see an even bigger increase.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) September 10, 2021
Even before this game began, fans widely expected the game to garner some massive ratings. The defending Super Bowl champions vs. arguably the most popular team in America on opening night was always bound to rake in the viewers.
But after the game got underway, the viewing appeal only increased.
The matchup delivered in every aspect. Dallas was able to take a one-point lead late in the game, setting up Tom Brady and the Bucs’ offense with just over 1:30 remaining on the clock. The all-time great QB led his team down the field, setting up his kicker for a game-winning field goal in the final seconds of the game.
The final score read 31-29 in favor of Tampa Bay.
The constant stream of action kept fans glued to their TVs. Together, the two teams combined for 60 points and 882 total yards.