Dallas Cowboys lead 2018 NFL television rating revival

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

The NFL television ratings have been revived in 2018 after a few years of decline. Could the Dallas Cowboys be the reason for the resurgence?

Dallas Cowboys fans still have the good feeling from the win over the New Orleans Saints last week. The NFL Office may feel even better.

In his post a few days ago, my colleague Steven Mullenax relayed that the Thursday night stunner was the most-watched Thursday Night Football game in NFL history. The 14.6 share for the game was also the highest rated game of the year according to sportsmediawatch.com.

The Cowboys have four of the top ten and seven of the top twenty viewed games this year. Games against the Texans, Lions and Jaguars were in the top 30 with the Falcons ranking 47 and the Titans 53.

The Packers with three, Saints, Patriots and Rams each with two are the only other teams with multiple top ten spots. It is an easy conclusion to make that the Cowboys are must-watch television.

The so-called game of the year between the Chiefs and Rams pulled a 9.7 rating ranking 32nd overall. This number is much lower due to the game being on ESPN (see my post about why I think the NFL salary cap will decline in the near future).

While its apples and oranges to compare the ratings from Thursday Night Football to Monday Night Football, it is interesting to me that the highest NFL rated game so far this year was a defensive slugfest. Social media was left drooling over the Rams and Chiefs but I have the same opinion as Trent Dilfer – that game was not good football.

My problem is the average NFL fan loves an offensive rampage and can’t appreciate the elegance of a hard-fought balanced game that ends 13-10. The NFL has made it almost impossible to play defense with rule changes over the last 25 years.

Both the Saints and Cowboys were masterful on defense. Each team pitched a half shutout with the ‘Boys 13 points coming in the first half and the Saints 10 points coming in the second half. It may even be safe to say that Dallas can claim the NFL’s best defense after holding the NFL’s highest-scoring offense to 10 points.

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With the average NFL offense scoring 24 points per game this year, an 11 percent increase from last year, we may have seen a rare event – a defensive masterpiece that was compelling and enjoyable to watch. Count me in the group that hopes to see more games like Saints-Cowboys versus Rams-Chiefs.

But I would also be happy to see a 42-7 beat down this weekend with the visitors limping home with broken wings.