The NFL’s reign over Thanksgiving continued on Thursday with three regular-season matchups drawing in football fans across the country. While all three games fared well, the New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys will go down in history for both the NFL and FOX.
Dallas took the field as heavy favorites, easily expected to defeat its NFC East rival at AT&T Stadium on a national stage. With the Cowboys’ roster healthy, it was well-positioned to come out of Thanksgiving with a victory to secure second place in the division.
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Instead, New York jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first quarter and led 13-7 at halftime. A close game proved to be perfect for FOX and entertaining for football fans on a restful Thursday, allowing the matchup to set records in the process.
According to FOX Sports PR, the Thanksgiving game between the Giants and Cowboys peaked at 42 million viewers. It represents a 49% spike from last year’s Thanksgiving matchup on FOX and served as a 3% increase from a comparable window last year.
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Not only is it the most-watched NFL game this season, it’s the largest audience for a regular-season game in NFL history. Putting it into comparison, the divisional round playoff games in 2022 averaged 38.2 million viewers.
The numbers easily surpass the highest-rated NFL game in Week 9 (20.25 million for Los Angeles Rams vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Week 8. It’s the first regular-season game in 2022 to eclipse 30 million viewers.
When the TV ratings are finalized, the Giants vs Cowboys viewership will just surpass the previous record (41.6 million), which ABC generated for a 1990 matchup between the Giants and San Francisco 49ers.
As for the remainder of the Thanksgiving slate, CBS averaged 31.63 million viewers for its early broadcast of the Buffalo Bills vs Detroit Lions. It’s a significant increase compared to last season’s Thanksgiving game featuring the Lions (28.25 million).
Finally, NBC averaged over 26 million viewers for its broadcast of the New England Patriots vs Minnesota Vikings game.