One game into the 2021 NFL season, we may have already seen the game of the year. The Buccaneers beat the Cowboys on a last-second field goal after the teams combined for 882 yards and 60 points.
The TV ratings it generated are not a surprise given how tight the game was throughout as well as the draw of the Cowboys as America’s Team and Bucs quarterback Tom Brady as the GOAT.
NBC Sports announced Friday the game ranked as the most-watched NFL Kickoff Game since 2015, which was also the most-watched season in Sunday Night Football history.
Thursday night’s opener registered a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) average of approximately 26 million viewers across NBC TV, Peacock, NBC Sports Digital and NFL Digital platforms, based on preliminary data. The Steelers-Patriots opener in 2015, with 27.4. million viewers, was the last NFL Kickoff Game to top this year’s Kickoff Game.
The 2020 Kickoff Game between the Texans and Chiefs was 20 percent lower with a 21.6 million TAD.
With an average of approximately 24.4 million viewers on NBC, the 2021 NFL Kickoff Game is television’s most-watched show since Super Bowl LV in February.
Dallas was the top-rated market for the game, with a national TV household rating of 29.1/56. Tampa was third behind Dallas and San Antonio at 24.6/50. Providence was fourth and Boston sixth as Patriots fans still tune in to watch Brady.