The Dallas Cowboys proved to be ratings gold again for NBC and the NFL on Sunday night, delivering a 15.3 overnight rating. The Cowboys improved to 12-2 with a 26-20 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who saw their five-game win streak halted.
The 15.3 rating was NBC Sunday Night Football’s second-highest of the season, coming in just behind last week’s game between the Cowboys and New York Giants that delivered a 16.5.
In a season in which the league’s TV ratings have plunged by double-digits, the Cowboys’ dream season led by rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott is practically single-handedly carrying the NFL. NBC “flexed” the Cowboys-Bucs game into primetime. Dallas played in its third consecutive primetime game and third in a row on NBC. Next week’s Monday night game against the Detroit Lions will take the Cowboys’ primetime streak to a record four games.
According to NBC Sports, Sunday’s rating was also the best Week 15 NBC Sunday Night Football telecast since 2008 when the Cowboys and Giants registered a 15.4/24. It was up 31 percent from NBC's Week 15 Sunday Night Football telecast last year, a matchup between Arizona and Philadelphia that registered an 11.7/19 .
Overnight for Bucs-Cowboys on NBC’s Sunday Night Football peaked at 15.9/29 from 10-10:30 p.m. Dallas was the top market, with a 40.6 rating and 60 share, meaning 60 percent of the TVs in use were tuned into the game. San Antonio (27.7/42), Austin (25.3/45), Albuquerque (24.6/36) and Richmond (23.3/34) were the top markets. Tampa (23.0/36) came in sixth, according to NBC Sports.
Jeff Caplan: 817-390-7705, @Jeff_Caplan