After a two-year slide, NFL television ratings are finally on the rebound. The league announced this week that ratings for the 2018 season were up five percent from the 2017 season with an average total of 15.8 million viewers tuning in each week to watch the NFL this year.
All four networks that televise the NFL (CBS, NBC, Fox and ESPN) saw an increase in viewership with ESPN's Monday Night Football making the biggest jump thanks to an 8 percent increase in viewership. CBS and NBC both saw a 6 percent increase in viewers while Fox saw a 4 percent jump on their Sunday games and a 2 percent jump for their Thursday games.
The NFL produced 46 of the 50 most-watched telecasts from September through December and with the high for the season coming on Thanksgiving. Of the league's five most-viewed games in 2018, two of them were played on Turkey Day.
When you look at the five most-viewed games of the season, it's easy to see why America's Team is called America's Team: The Cowboys had two of the three most-watched games in the NFL this year.
Here's a look at the five most-viewed games.
1. Cowboys 31-23 over Redskins, 30.5 million viewers (Week 12, Fox)
2. Bears 23-16 over Lions, 26.6 million (Week 12, CBS)
3. Cowboys 29-23 over Eagles, 25.2 million (Week 14 Fox)
4. Steelers17-10 over Patriots, 24.6 million (Week 15, CBS)
5. Saints 31-28 over Steelers, 24.0 million (Week 16 CBS)
Besides the Cowboys, the Steelers were also featured in the two of the top five games, which proves that America loves drama. Of the five most-watched games this year, three of them aired on CBS.
One non-television stat that the NFL has to be thrilled with is the amount of streaming that people have been doing to watch games this year. In 2018, viewership through digital streams was up 86 percent over 2017. The NFL will look to continue its ratings uptick in the playoffs. The top wild-card game last season drew 31.15 million viewers, and it wouldn't be surprising to see that number get topped this weekend, especially with the Cowboys getting set to play on Saturday.