Highest NFL ratings on Thanksgiving Day since 1998

Sean McKeon # 84 of the Dallas Cowboys defeats Brandon Fashion # 35 of the Las Vegas Raiders after receiving and scoring his sides with a first touchdown during the first quarter of an NFL game between Las Vegas Raiders and Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on November 25. 2021 in Arlington, Texas.

Richard Rodriguez | Getty Images

America loves football on Thanksgiving Day, and the National Football League remains the beneficiary.

The NFL said its Thanksgiving games drew the most viewers since 1998, as evidenced by the Dallas Cowboys’ performance in the Las Vegas Raiders.

CBS aired an evening game in which Cowboys fell on Raiders in overtime, 36-33. According to the NFL, the competition was watched by an average of 38.3 million viewers on TV and streaming.

It was the most watched regular season game in the NFL since December 1990, when the New York Giants played the San Francisco 49ers. The game featured star defenders Phil Simms and Joe Montana and was watched by an average of 41.5 million viewers.

Fox Sports aired an early Thanksgiving game in which the Chicago Bears beat the Detroit Lions 16-14. The competition was watched by an average of 26.7 million viewers. And NBC, which is one of CNBC’s parent companies, aired the evening game between Buffalo Bills and New Orleans, which was watched by an average of 19.9 million people.

Overall, the three Thanksgiving NFL games averaged 29.7 million viewers on CBS, Fox and NBCUniversal. The NFL noted that the three games were the most watched games since the 1998 season, with viewers watching a record 17.1 billion minutes of live coverage of 2021 Thanksgiving games.

Average views in 2021 also increased 9% over last year’s Thanksgiving Games, which averaged 27.1 million viewers between the two competitions. The third scheduled game between Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers was delayed last year due to Covid.

Thanksgiving 2019 games averaged 27.4 million viewers.

The NFL reported that the 2021 games averaged 16.4 million viewers over their 10th week on television and streaming platforms.

The Cowboys are now featured in four of the league’s most played games. Among them: the first season against the Tampa Bay Pirates, which averaged 24.8 million viewers; Team victory in Week 2 over Los Angeles Chargers, averaging 24.3 million viewers; and Week 6, beating the New England Patriots, which averaged 23.2 million viewers.

Disclosure: NBC and CNBC are owned by NBCUniversal.

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