The NFL really knew what it was doing when it scheduled the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys for a Week 16 Monday Night Football game. Two teams that won a combined 11 games last season. Surely there would be wide-ranging playoff implications here.
Okay, never mind. The NFL lucked out.
Still, the ratings the league saw for this all-important NFC matchup was pretty darn awesome.
According to ESPN (h/t Pro Football Talk), it was the highest-rated Monday Night Football game in over two years. In fact, the most people tuned into that game for any of its kin since Dallas took on the Washington Redskins in October of 2014.
This is just a continuation of the ratings spike we’ve seen around the league since the first half of the season was defined by lackluster numbers.
Though, this really shouldn’t be a surprise. Now at 13-2 on the season, Dallas is the hottest ticket in the NFL. And Monday proved that to a T. Dak Prescott put up three total touchdowns while fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott added two scores in the 42-21 win over Detroit.
Also important to note, it was the fifth consecutive nationally televised game for the Cowboys, all of which have received solid ratings.
From a logistical standpoint, the game took place on a national holiday, the day after Christmas fell on a Sunday. Surely, there were more people home and prepared to watch the game. That played a role here.