One of the likely reasons for the NFL’s ratings crisis this year was a lack of dominant storylines. There was no dominant player or historically great player or charismatic breakout star.

Well it turned out the solution was to have the Cowboys get off to a 10-1 start. Despite a matchup with the mediocre Vikings and despite a sloppy game that ended 17-15, Dak Prescott and company drew 21.8 million viewers to NBC on Thursday, the most in the history of Thursday Night Football.

It had seemed like the Cowboys had lost their “America’s Team” luster, but apparently all it took to get it back was two electric rookies and the best record in the NFL. Or maybe there are just a lot of Vikings fans out there.

It’s certainly worth noting that Thursday Night Football has been around only since 2006 and has been on network television only since 2014. And it’s relevant that the NFL does not usually schedule particularly interesting games for Thursday nights. Still, for a league with sharply declining viewership, a number like this is some good news.

Now if the NFL could just get the Cowboys to play every game, maybe this ratings problem would be fixed. Someone get Jerry Jones on the phone.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

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