The Week 3 Cowboys-Seahawks game.

The overall story of NFL ratings showing some recovery from last year’s lows (and posting some highs that hadn’t been seen in years) seems to have continued in Week 3, according to the overnights. In particular, NBC’s Sunday Night Football game (the Patriots’ 26-10 loss to the Lions) jumped 17 percent over last year’s Week 3 broadcast (Raiders-Redskins), and perhaps even more impressively, Fox’s national afternoon game (Cowboys-Seahawks) rose 11 percent year over year (from CBS’ Bengals-Packers broadcast in that window last year) despite going head-to-head with NBC’s incredible ratings for Tiger Woods’ first PGA Tour win in five years at the Tour Championship.

As John Ourand of Sports Business Journal noted, the overall ratings for Week 3 so far show a slight increase:

Ourand’s SBJ colleague Austin Karp had more on the golf ratings, and on how SNF pulled NBC’s best Week 3 overnight since 2015:

The news wasn’t all good for the NFL, though. As Paulsen notes at Sports Media Watch, the early games on CBS and Fox saw year-over-year declines:

The early games did not fare as well. FOX earned a 9.0 for the first half of its doubleheader, which featured 49ers-Chiefs or Green Bay-Washington in 47% of markets — down 10% from last year (10.0) and even with 2016 (9.0).

Meanwhile, CBS pulled an 8.3 for its singleheader window (-19%).

Still, the afternoon increase despite massive competition from golf is impressive, especially considering that Seahawks-Cowboys was pretty ugly at points. But the Cowboys always draw strong ratings, so that certainly helped. And SNF got a boost from not only featuring the Patriots, but seeing them lose to a former Bill Belichick assistant (Lions’ coach Matt Patricia); some of those Tiger viewers may have stuck around for the football game, too. Overall, that made for a pretty good Week 3 for the NFL, even with those early-window declines. (That 19 percent drop means it wasn’t a great week for CBS, though.)

Overall, eight of 12 Sunday NFL windows so far this season have seen year-over-year increases in metered markets. There have been some notable declines so far this year too, of course, especially for the Thursday Week 1 Kickoff Game (hurt by a weather delay), Week 2’s Thursday Night Football debut, and Week 2’s Monday Night Football, so it’s not that every NFL rating is suddenly dominant again, and the all-windows overall story is only of a slight year-over-year increase (which is still concerning considering that last year’s ratings saw almost a 10 percent overall drop; not beating them by much isn’t necessarily great). But there has been a fair bit of ratings improvement for the league for many of its broadcasts, and these Week 3 numbers support that.

[Sports Media Watch]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.