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Cowboys-Giants is most-watched NBC primetime game ever

by jmaloni
Wed, Jan 4th 2012 12:55 pm

Most-watched NFL regular-season primetime game in 15 years

The Cowboys-Giants game on "Sunday Night Football" was the most-watched NFL regular-season primetime game ever on NBC and the most-watched NFL regular-season primetime game on any network in 15 years, according to official national data released today by The Nielsen Company.

Sunday's game on NBC, in which the Giants defeated the Cowboys, 31-14, to win the NFC East, was seen by 27.6 million viewers, 42 percent higher than last year's week 17 game (Rams-Seahawks, 19.4 million), which was also a win-and-in game to determine the winner of the NFC West, and topped the previous NBC NFL primetime viewership record (27.5 million for Vikings-Saints "NFL Thursday Kickoff" on Sept. 9, 2010).

Other ratings notes:

•Most-watched regular-season primetime game on any network in 15 years (Packers-Cowboys, 31.5 million, Nov. 18, 1996, on ABC).

•Most-watched NFL primetime regular-season final game in 17 years (32.0 million for 49ers-Vikings, Dec. 26, 1994, on ABC).

Most watched NFL regular-season primetime games on NBC:

1. 27.6 million, Cowboys-Giants, 1/1/12 (Sunday night's game)
2. 27.5 million, Vikings-Saints, 9/9/10 (2010 Thursday night opener)*
3. 27.2 million, Saints-Packers, 9/8/11 (2011 Thursday night opener)*
4. 25.8 million, Cowboys-Jets, 9/11/11 (2011 SNF week 1)
5. 25.73 million, Eagles-Cowboys, 12/12/10 (2010 SNF week 14)
6. 25.68 million, Vikings-Packers, 10/24/10, (Favre "Return to Lambeau II")
7. 25.3 million, Cowboys-Redskins, 9/12/10 (2010 SNF week 1)
8. 24.8 million, Giants-Cowboys, 9/20/09 (Dallas Cowboys Stadium debut)
9. 24.5 million, Giants-Cowboys, 12/11/11 (2011 SNF week 14)
10. 24.2 million, Packers-Patriots, 12/19/10 (2010 SNF week 15)

*Thursday NFL Kickoff Games

The Cowboys-Giants game received a 15.7 national household rating and a 25 share, up 39 percent from last year's week 17 game (Rams-Seahawks, 11.3/18), and making it the highest-rated "Sunday Night Football" broadcast ever (excluding "NFL Thursday Kickoff" games).

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