Fox had much to be thankful for. The late afternoon Thanksgiving day NFC East showdown between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys averaged 35.1 million viewers. Per Fox that’s the most-watched regular season NFL game ever on Fox which began broadcasting NFL games in 1994.
The NFC East and particularly the Dallas Cowboys being good/relevant is a boon for NFL ratings.
Things weren’t as rosy for NBC in primetime where the Steelers-Colts game drew a 10.8 overnight rating, down 26% from last year’s Thanksgiving primetime game (Bears-Packers) which drew a 14.6 overnight rating. Update: The game averaged 20.9 million viewers on NBC, down 25 percent from last year’s 27.8 million for a close Packers-Bears game. Though NBC notes the 20.9M is higher than the 20.2 million average of the last two AFC Thanksgiving matchups in 2012 & 2013.
It was a bit of a mixed bag for CBS. The Vikings-Lions game drew a 14.4 overnight rating. That’s up 5% versus last year’s Lions’ game that drew a 13.7, but was down from last year’s Panthers-Cowboys game that aired on CBS Thanksgiving Day and drew a 15.3 overnight rating. Update: The game averaged 27.6 million, the most-watched game on CBS this season.
The upshot is that both daytime games were up versus last year but primetime continues to be an issue for the NFL (yes, the game wasn’t as close as the other two games were, and yes, no Andrew Luck, and yes, down 26% versus last year.)