It’s official. The Dallas Cowboys’ 41-37 Monday Night Football victory over the Philadelphia Eagles really was a big deal.
ESPN crunched the numbers and found that Monday night’s action-packed thriller from Texas Stadium delivered the largest audience in the history of cable TV.
The game earned a 13.3 rating, representing nearly 13 million homes and 18.6 million viewers.
With so many story lines, viewers tuned in early and stayed late, as the game was decided in the final 4 1/2 minutes.
A rating is the percentage of homes (in this case, with cable TV) watching a program at any given moment.
As a footnote, the Cowboys and Texas Stadium still hold down the third-biggest cable TV audience ever — the Oct. 23, 2006 Cowboys-Giants game on ESPN MNF.
Monday's game was also ESPN’s third-highest rating of all time, trailing only two other NFL games when fewer homes had cable TV: Chicago at Minnesota on Dec. 6, 1987 (14.4 rating, 8.4 million homes), and Detroit at Miami on Christmas 1994 (14.2 rating; 8.9 million homes).