Week 17 Wrap: Over 30 Million For Dallas/Washington Finale on NBC

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The season finale of “Sunday Night Football” earned spectacular numbers on NBC.

The Week 17 Dallas/Washington “Sunday Night Football” game earned a 17.0 final rating and 30.3 million viewers on NBC, up 8% in ratings and 10% in viewership from Cowboys/Giants last year (15.7, 27.6M), and up 50% and 57%, respectively, from Rams/Seahawks in 2011 (11.3, 19.4M).

The game ranks as the highest rated and most-watched NFL telecast of the 2012 regular season on any network. The previous highs were a 16.5 for Steelers/Broncos on NBC in Week 1 and 28.7 million viewers for Washington/Dallas on FOX Thanksgiving Day.

The last NFL game to draw a larger audience was the Thanksgiving Day Dolphins/Cowboys game on CBS in 2011 (30.9M). Excluding Thanksgiving Day games, no NFL telecast has drawn as large an audience as Sunday’s game since the Week 14 national window on CBS in 2010, which featured Patriots/Bears in most markets (30.5M).

For primetime games only, Sunday’s game ranks as the top NFL telecast since Packers/Cowboys on ABC in 1996 (31.5M), and the top game between rivals Dallas and Washington since 1993 (31.1M).

Overall, Sunday’s game ranks as the highest rated and most-viewed regular season NFL telecast on NBC since the network resumed airing games in the 2006-07 season. Including the playoffs and Super Bowl, the game ranks sixth in both measures over that span.

For some perspective, the last college football game to draw at least 30 million viewers was the Alabama/Texas BCS National Championship Game three years ago (30.8M), the last Major League Baseball game to hit that mark was Game 7 of the Red Sox/Yankees ALCS in 2004 (31.5M), the last NBA game to do so was Game 6 of the Bulls/Jazz NBA Finals in 1998 (35.9M), the last college basketball game to do so was the Arkansas/Duke title game in 1994 (32.7M), and the last hockey game — of any kind — to do so was the United States/Finland gold medal game during the 1980 Winter Olympics (32.8M).

Among adults 18-49, Dallas/Washington drew a 10.5 rating — up 7% from last year (9.8).

10 Most-Viewed NFL Telecasts on NBC
Since reacquiring rights to the league
Includes playoffs

# Date Time Away Home Rating Viewers (000)
1 Sun., 2/5/12 6:30 PM Giants Patriots
47.0
111.3M
2 Sun., 2/1/09 6:30 PM Steelers Cardinals
42.0
98.7M
3 Sat., 1/8/11 8 PM Jets Colts
18.7
33.4M
4 Sat., 1/9/10 8 PM Eagles Cowboys
18.0
32.1M
5 Sat., 1/7/12 8 PM Lions Saints
18.2
31.8M
6 Sun., 12/30/12 8:20 PM Cowboys Washington
17.0
30.3M
7 Sat., 1/8/11 4:30 PM Saints Seahawks
16.8
28.3M
8 Sat., 1/4/09 8 PM Colts Chargers
16.1
27.8M
9 Sun., 1/1/12 8:20 PM Cowboys Giants
15.7
27.6M
10 Sun., 9/9/12 8:20 PM Steelers Broncos
16.5
27.6M

(Sunday’s numbers from NBC Universal Media Village)

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