Lions-Cowboys is highest-rated Monday night game in two years

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The NFL’s ratings rebound continues.

After ratings were down across the board for the first half of this NFL season, ratings have improved significantly recently. In yet another sign of that, ESPN has announced that not only was last night’s Lions-Cowboys game its highest rated Monday Night Football game of 2016, but it beat every Monday Night Football game in 2015 as well.

The overnight rating from last night was a 10.7, which is the highest since Dallas played Washington on October 27, 2014. That follows a Christmas Day in which NFL Network got its highest rating ever for Ravens-Steelers and NBC got a 10 percent ratings bump from Broncos-Chiefs. For most of the past several weeks, NFL ratings have been strong, reversing the trend from early in the season.

Theories abound about why ratings have improved. Some say the end of the presidential election has people more focused on sports over politics. Some say it’s because the Cowboys, who typically draw the strongest ratings of any NFL team, are in title contention. Some say it’s because the games themselves have been better down the stretch.

Whatever the reasons, this is welcome news for the NFL and its TV partners.

55 responses to “Lions-Cowboys is highest-rated Monday night game in two years

  1. And for the first 28 minutes, it was a great game. Then a facemask that DID happen and wasn’t called led to a Cowboys TD. As opposed to a facemask that DIDN’T happen but was called led to a Packers TD last year. NFL, if you want to be taken seriously and viewed as unbiased, you will call a fair game this Sunday night!

  2. Combining the Cowboys/NFCE drawing power with competitive games having playoff implications is probably a significantly bigger impact than the election cycle

  3. Fans will still watch the great match ups, and their home teams, but try to put on even average teams, aka Buffalo vs. Cinci, and the ratings will be terrible because fans are pissed at the NFL for any of a dozen legitimate reasons. I consider myself to be an ex hardcore fan, but now try to limit myself to only my home teams games whereas before if a game was on, I was watching. Thanks Roger for giving so much more free time to get other things done.

  4. Playoff implications for both teams, the novelty of the Lions actually playing a 16th-week game that means something, and carryover from the holidays would all play into it I think.

    I suppose this means we will be seeing the Cowboys in primetime 14 or 15 times next season instead of only the 10 or 11 times this year.

  5. America’s Team is must see TV for a lot of the country. Even when the game itself has no playoff implications for them.

  6. for all those concerned….zeke and the opposing team fell 1.30 short and I won the super bowl and my cowboys blew out the lions….life is grand!

  7. I have found better ways to occupy my time on a Monday night rather than watching the racist, America hating players the teams in the league employ.

    Perhaps if the league did something to remedy that situation as well as not trying to aggressively to replace longtime fans with disinterested Europeans, we wouldn’t have to endure these posts trumpeting lower than average ratings.

  8. “Its obvious that refs are calling way less defensive holding calls”

    …..and way more roughing the passer calls (some of which are of the ticky tack variety but have a huge impact on the game).

  9. I think more people are focusing on sports to take their minds off the fact that Trump plans to turn this country into a Banana Republic/Dicatorship and they need more escapism than usual in these troubled times we live in.

  10. TheCommish says:
    Dec 27, 2016 11:08 AM
    How highly rated will the Cowboys’ playoff loss be?
    ______________________________________

    I wish nothing but the worst for their classless fans. Couldn’t happen to a better fanbase. Good luck taking on their refs though. Would hate to play them in the playoffs.

  11. This holiday period could easily be owned by the NFL at will. There is nothing good on any network other than repeats and religious programming. It was a great NFL weekend with a full schedule on Saturday followed up by a double header on Sunday and then Monday night. They should do the same next year. December 23 is a Saturday. The NFL should fully schedule that day and then schedule a an early double header on December 24 – 12 pm and 3:30 pm. They could follow that up with a Sunday night game on December 25. Lots of meaningful NFL games.

  12. cdysart101 says:
    Dec 27, 2016 11:24 AM
    Stop calling the Cowboys ‘America’s team’ that is just the delusional fantasy of Jerry Jones and his mouth breathing fans.

    ==============

    Lets see which team has the most merchandise sales this year. Even in years when the Cowboys have losing seasons they rank in the top two or three, so you can see why the title sticks. Google “America’s Team” and see what comes up. The Cowboys didn’t ask for that title, they earned it.

  13. The Cowboys are a big part of it but the fact that they are good and playing good teams means people will watch. I hope NFL gets the hint and doesn’t wonder why Jags-Texans doesn’t get the number these games do.

  14. I did not watch as I have watched no games other than the Pats this year. I find myself caring less and less about the NFL and have had no problem finding other things to do.

    Now if I could break my addiction to PFT I doubt I would keep watching much at all. I will not reward the most corrupt commissioner in the history of modern American sports with my viewership much less spending money to go to a game or buy merch.

  15. The “America’s Team” nickname is pretty awful, but the one chit in the team’s favor there is ratings, as Dallas has been as dominant in that arena as its team has been on the field in 2016. Perhaps the nickname has some legitimacy, in that America clearly cares about how Dallas does one way or the other (many wanting it to win, at least as many wanting it to lose).

  16. The best part of these improved ratings is the Billionaires Boys Club will think that it was just the election that led to lower ratings and that everything is fine. Nothing will be done to correct the many flaws that were the real cause of lower ratings earlier in the year and next year we can all laugh at their failings. Nothing makes this poor boy happier than laughing at billionaires. I know it’s small of me, but it doesn’t take much to make me happy.

  17. What do you expect when America’s Team is playing? No surprise here. Despite what other jealous fans want to say, the Cowboys have always been and will always be America’s Team. The proof is in the pudding.

  18. It’s not just the Cowboys (no matter how much Cowboys fans like to think it is). Ratings have been steadily increasing lately (past 5-6 weeks). You know what I haven’t noticed lately? 10 minutes before each game being dedicated to the idiots protesting the anthem

    But I’m sure that has nothing to do with it. I’m sure the lack of ramming a liberal agenda down your audiences throat, and the ratings going back up happening at basically the exact same time is a coincidence

  19. I think the reason for the ratings increase is obvious. Early in the season, the games were a flag fest with so many penalties they were virtually unwatchable. It seems the league office has instructed the refs to keep the flags in their pocket as there has been much fewer penalties the second half of the season

  20. Ratings will be through the roof if the match ups for conference games are:

    Pittsburgh at New England
    Giants at Dallas

    John Madden’ s head would explode.

  21. cdysart101 says:
    Dec 27, 2016 11:24 AM
    Stop calling the Cowboys ‘America’s team’ that is just the delusional fantasy of Jerry Jones and his mouth breathing fans.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Why don’t you watch The Timeline this Wednesday on NFL Network at 8:00 so you can learn where the name came from?

  22. I always find it incredibly amusing to read all of the Cowboys haters disavow any credible link to the improved ratings for the prime time games.

    A reminder of the last 4 weeks and it does NOT include Thanksgiving:

    One Thursday night, 2 Sunday nights and 1 Monday night all with “highest since” numbers but certainly nothing to do with Dallas.

    It is almost as entertaining as reading Lions fans complain about officiating…again. Even after getting 42 dropped on them it still must be those crooked refs being directed by that bought and paid for Blandino.

  23. jr4real says:

    The fix might be coming. Steelers Cowboys SB. Off the chart ratings.
    ================================

    Off the charts would be the Patriots vs Cowboys. And that’s a more likely scenario.

  24. Yes, Dez should have been called for the facemask. But there is no guarantee the game would have ended differently: given the second-half blowout, it’s hard to believe Detroit would have won. Remember, it’s rarely accurate to say “if only he’d gotten that call, we’d have won,” or, “If only we’d made that field goal in the second quarter.” There are too many variables. Call the facemask, let the tape run a hundred times from that point, and you’d have a hundred different sequences of events. Yes, the officiating needs major improvement: some of these guys couldn’t spot a foul if they were transformed into giant insects with 8,000 eyes each. (Was that the weirdest comment ever made on PFT?)

  25. Wow it looks like America is warming up to Colin Kaepernick’s message. We established earlier in the year the correlation between Kaepernick and NFL TV ratings. Right peoples? Or was it Roger Goodell’s leadership that was affecting viewership? Well I guess Roger and Colin can take a bow now.

  26. abninf says:
    Dec 27, 2016 12:47 PM
    jr4real says:

    The fix might be coming. Steelers Cowboys SB. Off the chart ratings.
    ================================

    Off the charts would be the Patriots vs Cowboys. And that’s a more likely scenario.

    ————–

    Steelers Cowboys would easily draw higher ratings than NE Cowboys. Not even close.

    But I will admit that’s a more likely scenario.

  27. There seems to be a lot of debate over the title of America’s Team so let me explain this to some younger people that do not know where this came from. Dallas had been winning on a consistent basis and NFL films noticed that when Dallas played on the road, there were lots of Cowboys jerseys in the stands and they had a huge following all across the country. NFL films 1st coined the term America’s Team and Tex Schramm (GM & marketing genius) ran with it. Dallas w/Landry, Schramm & scout Gil Brandt made up the core of the Cowboys who had 20 straight winning seasons and 18 years in the playoffs. They have been and still are the best selling merchandise in pro sports. They had a resurgence in the 90s with 3 more Superbowl wins and are now a young talented team with a bright future. We are 13-2 for a reason. Go Cowboys – America’s Team !!!

  28. Carlton Ward, Very well said. Just let me add that in the days before NFL Sunday Ticket, Thursday Night, and Sunday Night Football, all we had was the Sunday afternoon games that were shown in your home market along with Monday Night Football.
    Dallas was on the maximum 3 Monday nights, Thanksgiving, and the late Sunday afternoon slot about a half dozen times a year. Dallas put this league on the map when these sniveling millennials were still just a gleam in their daddy’s eye.
    And one final note, the officiating was just as bad in the 60’s and 70’s as it is now. Bad officiating is nothing new.

  29. It was a great matchup and great game for almost 3 QB then Dallas was just to much for the Lions to handle…..the only team in the NFC that has has a chance to beat them is the Giants and thats because they have the defense and offense that can stay with them, not to mention the Giants always beat the Cowboys……..

  30. pftthoughtpolicemostwanted says:
    Dec 27, 2016 11:06 AM

    I have found better ways to occupy my time on a Monday night rather than watching the racist, America hating players the teams in the league employ.

    Perhaps if the league did something to remedy that situation as well as not trying to aggressively to replace longtime fans with disinterested Europeans, we wouldn’t have to endure these posts trumpeting lower than average ratings.
    ————————–

    Quit crying and pay attention.

    No one cares about you anti-Constitution liberals, and the ratings are better than ever.

    No one cares about you anti-Constitution liberals.

  31. ctiggs says:
    Dec 27, 2016 11:35 AM

    or people were off work and nothing else was on. no body cares about daLOLas
    ___________________________________
    Yeah, because people care about the 2-13 Niners, right?

  32. Thank you fedora59, Tex Schramm also brought a lot of changes to the NFL with things like personal/conditioning trainers on staff, Cheerleaders, instant replay, the flags on top of the goal posts, mics for the refs, computer generated scouting and the list goes on. The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders went all over the world promoting goodwill and raising $$ for charities and this also led to a world-wide fan-base of Cowboy fans. … Don Shula said of Schramm, “I truly believe he had as much, or more, to do with the success of professional football as anyone who has ever been connected with the league.”

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