The NFL’s Week 1 Lineup, led by Tom Brady and Dak Prescott, is kicking ratings to the curb.
The NFL season began in 2021 with some of the best TV ratings in the league’s five-year history.
The NFL published viewership numbers for the broadcast week of Monday through Sunday on Tuesday, with games beginning on Thursday in Tampa, Florida. Week 1 averaged 17.4 million viewers, according to the NFL, which is the second-highest Week 1 viewing in the last five seasons (2017-2021), just behind 2019.
The kickoff game between Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dak Prescott’s Dallas Cowboys on Thursday attracted 26.4 million viewers, making it NBC’s most watched kickoff game since 2015.
The Thursday and Sunday games on NBC averaged 22.8 million viewers, up 11% from last year.
Week 1 games gathered a total of 6.3 billion total watch minutes, which is a new high for a national window.
On networks including ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2, the Monday Night Football game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Baltimore Ravens averaged 15.3 million viewers, up 59 percent from previous year’s figures. Since the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins game in 2013, the Raiders and Ravens game has been the most-watched MNF game.
The Monday game also drew in more spectators thanks to the presence of Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning and former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning on the sidelines. The Manning brothers chatted with NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley during the first quarter of the game, then introduced Ray Lewis, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the second and third quarters, respectively.
The alternative simulcast aired on ESPN2, while sportscaster Steve Levy hosted the live ESPN broadcast.
The high viewership figures come as the NFL continues to struggle with the ramifications of COVID-19.
COVID-19 was contracted by six New Orleans Saints assistant coaches, wide receiver Michael Thomas, and a nutritionist on Tuesday. The Saints will be under mitigation protocol for the 2021 Regular Season as a result of the outbreak, according to the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 Protocols.
Daily testing of gamers, as well as Tier 1 and Tier 2 staff, is required under the protocol, regardless of vaccination status. There will also be masks that must be worn. This is a condensed version of the information.