The Dallas Cowboys rain-drenched 33-19 victory over the Washington Redskins in the nation’s capital sure wasn’t pretty. But, the Week 8 clash was still the most-watched sporting event of this past weekend, according to Sportsmediawatch.com.
Yes, the two long-time rivals are in the thick of the NFC wild-card race. However, the real reason for the game’s strong viewership is because none of the other major networks want to go head-to-head with Fox when the Cowboys are penciled in for a national broadcast time slot.
On Sunday, Fox had the rights to broadcast a doubleheader nationally and elected to show the Cowboys-Redskins game to practically the entire country. CBS, meanwhile, chose not to select its best late afternoon game, an inter-conference match-up between the Houston Texans and the Seattle Seahawks, for its one national broadcast slot.
Other than the markets in Houston, Seattle and a few select major markets (primarily New York and Philadelphia), a significant number of fans across the land didn’t get to see what was probably the most exciting game of the year so far in the NFL.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson both put on an electric show, combining for 954 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns, as the Seahawks prevailed late, 41-38.
At the end of the day, that quality of that game matters very little to Fox. Because of the decision made by CBS executives, the Cowboys-Redskins game dominated the national overnight ratings with a a 15.3. That number is the highest of any NFL game this season since the Cowboys-Broncos match-up in Week 2 drew a 16.1 rating, per Sportsmediawatch.com.
The game even topped a positively wild Game 5 of the World Series, which brought in a 12.1 national rating on Fox later that night.
The one piece of good news for executives at CBS and NBC is that their networks get Jerry Jones’ franchise for five of its remaining nine games, including three in prime time.
In the meantime, those same executives still have to figure out how to schedule around the Cowboys’ other four games in the hopes of avoiding a repeat of the events from this past Sunday.
Peter Dawson: 817-390-7657