Jalen Hurts Eagles Week 9 Nov 5, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) runs with the ball against the Dallas Cowboys during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The “most-watched game of the season” baton has been passed. Fox’s Week 9 broadcast of the Eagles’ victory over the Cowboys surpassed their Week 6 broadcast of the Jets’ win over the Eagles as the season’s most-watched game.

This week’s game was watched by an average of 27.136 million viewers. It went to nearly all of the country in the late afternoon window on Sunday. Its total surpasses the Week 6 game by more than a million viewers.

It’s also the most-watched game in Week 9 since 2014, per Sports Media Watch. That 2014 game was a 22-point win for Tom Brady and the Patriots over Peyton Manning and the Broncos, which averaged over 29 million viewers on CBS.

In the early half of its Week 9 doubleheader, Fox averaged 11.46 million viewers for a three-game slate, led by the Packers’ win over the Rams. That was actually a lower average than Thursday Night Football on Prime Video, up again double digits to 11.52 million viewers for the Steelers’ win over the Titans.

CBS has the singleheader, and averaged 14.54 million viewers for its five-game slate (the Ravens’ blowout win over the Seahawks was the most-distributed game). That’s down from the singleheader both last week and last year.

Despite the poor viewership in Week 8, CBS is still averaging its best first half of the season since 2015, with 18.067 million viewers so far. The network’s national game of the week package is also averaging 24.112 million viewers, the NFL’s best package through nine weeks.

Fox’s game-of-the-week package is slightly behind, averaging 23.248 million viewers.

NBC ticked up for Sunday Night Football this week compared to last week and last year. The Bengals’ win over the Bills averaged 18.36 million viewers in primetime, falling about in the middle of the SNF package through nine weeks this season.

As discussed earlier this week, NFL Network’s morning broadcast of Chiefs-Dolphins from Germany scored. The game averaged 9.18 million viewers, good for the NFL’s most-watched morning game since 2015.

Armed with another ABC simulcast and an ESPN2 ManningCast, ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast delivered another increase. 14.5 million viewers watched the Chargers’ win over the Jets, a 38% increase from last year (without an ABC simulcast). To date, the package is averaging 15.4 million viewers, up 14 percent from a year ago, which includes a pair of staggered doubleheaders (compared to just one last year).

Looking ahead to Week 10, it might be a rough one for the league’s media partners. Prime Video has an absolute turd on Thursday night with the two-win Bears hosting the one-win Panthers. NFL Network has the season’s final international game in the morning, with the Colts taking on the Patriots in Frankfurt.

CBS has a five-game singleheader slate, headlined by a Packers-Steelers matchup with far less juice than in prior years and Lions-Chargers. Fox has the doubleheader, with 49ers-Jaguars starring in the early slate and Giants-Cowboys late. NBC is airing Jets-Raiders on Sunday night and ESPN will air Broncos-Bills on Monday night.

Compounding the pain in Week 10, three of the league’s best and most exciting teams, the Chiefs, Dolphins, and Eagles, all have byes.

A week from now, our weekly NFL ratings wrap will probably be a lot less rosy than this week’s edition.

[Data via Sports Media Watch]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.