The Dallas Cowboys playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wild Card Weekend was written in the stars for months. As soon as the Eagles opened up a multiple game lead in the division, it was speculated Dallas and Tampa would lock horns in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bucs did everything in their power to ensure that didn’t happen — go look how they performed down the stretch of the regular season — but the NFL was surely thrilled behind the scenes once the matchup was confirmed in Week 18.
Before you knew it, the game was scheduled for Monday night. If you didn’t watch football, chances are you could’ve predicted that.
The Cowboys are a huge draw regardless of the opponent. Throw in the fact they were facing Tom Brady in the potential last game of his career, or with the Bucs, and this matchup was always going to get a standalone time slot.
While the game itself fell short of expectations, it drew monster ratings. In fact, the 30.6 million viewers means it’s ESPN most-watched NFL playoff game since 1999. It’s also Disney’s largest NFL audience since Super Bowl XL (2006), and is the network’s third-most watched NFL game in its history.
More Cowboys News:
- In another rating nugget, the 30.6 million viewership topped all 18 of Disney’s NFL Playoff Games over the last 24 years. The rating is up 32% from last year’s Super Wild Card game on Monday night between the Cardinals and Rams. Dallas typically dominates ratings, but these numbers are staggering.
- Dan Quinn has secured another head coaching interview. Per ESPN, the Indianapolis Colts have requested to interview Quinn for their head coaching vacancy. Quinn joins a long list of candidates Indy has/will interview. The coveted DC is scheduled to interview with the Broncos on Friday.
- Mike McCarthy isn’t concerned that the 49ers have two more days of rest than the Cowboys for Sunday’s Divisional Round clash. “It’s going to serve us well. We’ll have less sleep, we’ll be grumpy,” McCarthy told the media. “It’s the schedule. TV is king. That’s part of the challenge. “We’ve got plenty of time here to get ready.”
- Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson will return to the team in 2023. Detroit finished fifth in the league in points (26.6 per game) in his first season on the job, and he was a hot commodity on the head coach carousel, securing interviews with the Houston, Indianapolis, and Carolina.
- Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is once again mulling his future in terms of both his playing career, and with Green Bay. “I think I can win MVP again in the right situation,” Rodgers said. “Right situation, is that Green Bay or is that somewhere else? I’m not sure. But I don’t think you should shut down any opportunity.”
- The Titans hired now-former 49ers director of player personnel Ran Carthon as their new general manager. Carthon replaces Jon Robinson, who was shockingly fired mid-season after an apparent rift with head coach Mike Vrabel, who’s expected to have a bigger say in player personnel in 2023.