Sunday Night Football is continuing to be a draw for fans of the NFL and high-profile matchups between two Super Bowl contenders. According to the latest numbers released by The Hollywood Reporter, the marquee battle between the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints boasted the most viewers of the evening. Additionally, this was the highest overnight rating for week four of the NFL season in seven years.
According to the numbers, this NFC battle earned a 15.5 household rating in metered markets. This was a 26 percent increase over week four of the 2018 season, which was a game between the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions in which new head coach Matt Patricia led his team to a 26-10 victory over his former boss in Bill Belichick.
Given that the Cowboys and Saints have two massive fanbases, this boost in ratings was expected. It also helps that both teams are heading toward potential berths in the playoffs if their strong play continues.
As further evidence of the popularity of these two teams, The Hollywood Reporter also released the numbers from another SNF game this season. On Sept. 8, the Pittsburgh Steelers faced the New England Patriots in what became a less-than-competitive affair. Tom Brady and co. romped during a 33-3 victory at home to kick off their season. Despite the lack of competition on the field, this matchup of two premier teams still boasted a 14.8 in households and finished with 22.2 million viewers.
For comparison's sake, the popular Nathan Fillion police show, The Rookie, finished with a score of 0.7 in the 18-49 demographic and 4.05 million viewers. Fox's new animated show, Bless the Harts, debuted with a 0.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 1.81 million viewers.
While the NFL is still the most popular sport in America, it's unlikely that next Sunday's battle between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts will boast the same ratings. These two teams have dedicated fanbases, but they are much smaller in scale than those of the Cowboys or Saints. Additionally, the Colts are forging through the season with backup-turned-starter Jacoby Brissett under center. He's doesn't have the same star power of Andrew Luck despite being a solid starter overall.
No, Sunday's battle between Dak Prescott's Cowboys and Teddy Bridgewater's Saints was certainly boosted by the name value on the field, as well as the relative popularity of both teams. The Dallas Cowboys are viewed as the NFL's biggest brand considering that Jerry Jones has turned this franchise into something worth $5 billion, which makes it the most valuable sports team in the world.
The New Orleans Saints may not be as financially successful as the Cowboys, but this team still boasts a top-five fanbase. Putting these two teams and their viewers together in primetime is a recipe for success.