Dallas-Washington Thanksgiving game topped 35 million viewers

Getty Images

In a reversal of the NFL’s downward ratings trend, the Dallas-Washington Thanksgiving game reached a historic viewership level.

FOX announced that the game reached 35.1 million viewers on Thursday. That’s an extraordinary number for American television. Here’s some context on that:

Only one basketball game has ever reached 35 million viewers: Michael Jordan’s last game with the Chicago Bulls in the 1998 NBA Finals, which had 35.9 million viewers.

The Dallas-Washington game had more viewers than 81 of the 82 World Series games in the last 15 years. The only exception was this year’s Game 7 between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians.

The game drew more viewers than this year’s Academy Awards (34.3 million viewers), which is typically the most-watched non-sports television event of the year in the United States.

That’s all for a regular season NFL game. For the year, NFL ratings are still down in every time slot: Sunday afternoons, Sunday nights, Thursday nights and Monday nights. But Thanksgiving served as a reminder that the NFL remains the king of American television.

49 responses to “Dallas-Washington Thanksgiving game topped 35 million viewers

  1. No school no work and 9-1 Cowboys vs bitter rival with winning record, kinda to be expected. So often the TG games feature at least one loser. Last game I can think of that approached it was SF-SEA three years back, the last time the 49ers will be 7-4 for a long long time. And nobody cares as much for those two teams.

  2. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to make Redskins v Cowboys on Thanksgiving a yearly thing….its a natural rivalry game and clearly has more appeal than Cowboys vs any other team.

  3. Its not hard to figure out why…………it was actually a good game, lived up to its rivalry hype and was entertaining start to finish…………..Jets vs Jags……..not so much !

  4. Cowboy fans are mad they lost the election, now the popular vote is back to watching football. They spent the last 8 years hoping for change and gosh darn it, little did they know, change came the minute Trump stepped in office. They finally got that 9th win, WHOOOOOO!!

  5. Let’s chill out….what else is there really to do on thanksgiving bedsides eat, watch football, hang out with people because you have to, or stand in line waiting to be the first to get a $150 tv that will break in 6 months!

  6. NFL needs to add a bye week to the NFL season if they’re going to continue to make every team play a Thursday game. The Redskins and Cowboys should play every year but no team should have to play on Sunday before they play on Thursday. And if that won’t happen, no team should have to play Sunday Night, not be able to have a full practice all week and then have to travel half way across the country to play a game.

    Considering all the Redskins went through this past week, they played a hell of a game and could have won it if a few kicks went their way.

  7. Thanksgiving ratings are always higher. People go to the high school games, then eat a ton of food, then veg out in front of the TV. But the Cowboys being an exciting team to watch certainly helps. The Cowboys are like Notre Dame, you either want them to win or lose, love ’em or hate ’em.

  8. Only negative is that us real cowboy fans (47 years and counting) are dealing with the johnny come lately bandwagon fans ala new england. A year ago i could food shop on sunday morning for our cowboy in home tailgate in boston and not see one cowboy shirt. Now dak and zeke are everywhere. Lol

  9. Redskins had a terrible game plan. 5 yards or less and a cloud of dust. Mostly ignored Dallas secondary, which is their weakness. Somebody need to expose huge holes, or use bunch formation to bust it open.

  10. rollotomasi14 says:
    Nov 26, 2016 10:21 AM
    Everybody has day off. What ekse to do at that time? Wasn’t the early game while people were cooking. Wasn’t the late game where people were passed out.
    —–
    Everbody has Thanksgiving off every year yet this is the first year ratings have hit that high. Let’s not poo poo this. Especially when so many people here were giving reasons why NFL ratings are in decline and will keep declining.

  11. NFCE head to head matchup this year is ratings gold, especially so in the Thanksgiving late slot, where there’s nothing worth a damn to compete with it. Only way the game might have done better was if it was Boys vs Giants but not by much since most Giants fans were probably watching it anyway

  12. Whoop-dee-do. As people are pointing out in here, what else was there for sports fans to watch?
    The NFL and networks can grasp at straws all they want, but they refuse to admit the future of the NFL is on a downward trend that will most likely continue. In my job as a bus driver, I am around young school kids a lot. They don’t talk about baseball or football at all. If they talk about any sport, it’s soccer. But mostly they just play their video games or text, text, text.
    The NFL is worried big time about losing their young fan base. They know moms and dads are steering their kids away from playing football. When my son played middle school football about 22 or 23 years ago, they probably had 25 kids on the team — and maybe more. My grandson played middle school football this year and they had 15 kids on the team. And two of them were hurt and couldn’t play. It’s not just an aberration. Parents are serious about not allowing their kids to play.
    Throw in the garbage rules and and the delays for replay in the NFL, and it’s hard for die-hards such as me to even watch the games anymore.
    If anyone thinks the NFL is playing games in London and Mexico just to allow those folks to enjoy the games, I have a bridge to sell you. The NFL is trying to squeeze every last dime out of their product before the “spit” hits the fan, which is coming sooner than everyone thinks.

  13. I rewatched all my Pats victories this year, looking for tendencies. I then wrote Mr. Belichick a letter with my ideas. I hope he likes them. I think rhey will make us better. I play lots of Madden.

  14. When it’s a good game, people keep watching.

    The football, in general, is bad this year. In a league with real parity, we’d have at least half the teams with a legitimate shot at a championship at this time of year. Can anybody honestly say there are more than a half-dozen? More than 3/4 of the league’s fans know their team has no shot. That makes it a lot easier to find something else to do on game day. Only the die hards generally watch this season. The rest can always check up on the league on their phone.

  15. mazenblue says:
    Nov 26, 2016 8:19 AM
    Cowboy fans are mad they lost the election, now the popular vote is back to watching football. They spent the last 8 years hoping for change and gosh darn it, little did they know, change came the minute Trump stepped in office. They finally got that 9th win, WHOOOOOO!!

    ———————————————————-

    most terrifying thing i have read in some time…

  16. Not much else to do…nothing on TV, it’s either watch whatever is on or be forced to socialize with a dysfunctional family and drink! Pop Warner could be playing and the ratings would still be high!

  17. To everyone saying “well it was Thanksgiving and the Cowboys, of course the ratings will be higher” – true, a Thanksgiving Cowboys game will be expected to pull higher than normal ratings. But let’s also remember that the Cowboys play every Thanksgiving and there has never been a more watched game in any of those Thanksgiving games or any Fox regular season game all time. Of course the Cowboys being good will always help ratings, but when ratings are at an all time high it shows that the idea that people have decided to stop watching the NFL because of anthem protests, or whatever other reasons people want to come up with, is greatly overblown. And the rebound of ratings in the last few weeks actually indicates that maybe the NFL’s goofy explanation that the election was hurting ratings was actually correct.

  18. Cowboys are always a big TV draw. And the Redskins are a historical rival, and a pretty good team this year (at least on offense). With the Cowboys sporting the best record in the NFL, this was a godsend for the TV folks.

  19. Cowboys’ games always score high in the ratings, even during our debacle last season! This game had the highest ratings in NFL history for a regular season game 🙂 To the poster above who stated the ‘Boys always stood for the anthem, you are correct; however, JG made that one of his rules for the team, when he became HC. JJ got in on it, after the crap started this season, especially, on 9/11…fyi

  20. What were the ratings for the 4pm game each Thanksgiving for the last 5 years? I imagine it’s one of the highest rated games annually.

    Curious if this is an exception or a norm.

  21. j huber says:
    Nov 26, 2016 10:32 AM
    Redskins had a terrible game plan. 5 yards or less and a cloud of dust. Mostly ignored Dallas secondary, which is their weakness. Somebody need to expose huge holes, or use bunch formation to bust it open.

    You win the idiot of the week poster award. Cousins passed over 50 times for 449 yards. That’s ignoring the secondary? Do you not get TV reception in your mom’s basement?

  22. Real football truth. It was a well played game. Officiating did not play a factor (thank god). Something you haters need to figure out–the Skins played their best game, Cousins put on a near perfect QB clinic–and they still lost. You need to admit it, this Cowboy team is very good. They imposed their offensive will. Say what you will about the defense, but they made the plays when they had to, time and again. Not Redskins mistakes (dropped balls, penalties, missed assignments) but time and again–they did their best against Dallas and it was not good enough. I will take my Cowboys team against anyone. Anyone. Not saying their “this” or “that” is better than another team–I leave all you football experts to keep making such comparisons. I am saying this team can beat anyone, anywhere, anytime–and they have yet to play their best game. Dak missed wide open Dez and Beasley. Run gaps were clogged by being beat by their man, and some mental errors, forced and unforced, hurt them at times. Just watch as they get better and better and better.

  23. “…however, JG made that one of his rules for the team, when he became HC. JJ got in on it, after the crap started this season, especially, on 9/11…fyi..”
    ==================================
    JG doesn’t do anything without “jerruh’s” ok.

  24. It was an exciting game. It was also not ruined that much by the NFL
    robot refs. I know some Cowboy fans thought the got the short end of the calls….but in my mind they let the players play.
    They even let Norman and Bryant go on and on and not let it hurt one team or the other. I thought it was refreshing to see the refs tell Norman and Bryant to cut the crap instead of throwing a flag against
    one of them ( when each of them probably deserved a flag at one time
    or another) and hurting one of the teams at a critical time.
    The NFC east is the money maker for the NFL when its teams are
    playing well it helps the rating. Right now between the Giants, Redskins, Eagles and Cowboys the game might well depend on who has the ball last. That’s what makes football the best.

  25. I think thats because most people who would be standing in line looking to buy stuff at retailers probably just order online. I ordered most of my stuff online. But i walked into the bestbuy and a target on black friday to get a few things and notice that most of the doorbuster iteams were still around.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!