HomeSportsNFLESPN Reveals Insane Ratings for Cowboys-Buccaneers Monday Night Football Playoff Game

ESPN Reveals Insane Ratings for Cowboys-Buccaneers Monday Night Football Playoff Game

by Nick Geddes
Dak Prescott Tom Brady
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

ESPN announced Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Dallas Cowboys NFC Wild Card game on “Monday Night Football” was the most watched NFL playoff game for The Walt Disney Company since 1999.

Across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+ and ABC, 30.6 million tuned in to see the Cowboys’ 31-14 victory over the Buccaneers, per Nielsen fast nationals. The overall number topples the 18 Disney NFL playoff games in the previous 24 years. The network projects that once Nielsen reports final viewership numbers Wednesday, it will likely become Disney’s most-watched NFL playoff game ever, surpassing the Arizona Cardinals-Cowboys matchup from January 1999 (30.7 million viewers).

“This exceptional number proves once again that live sports are unequaled in amassing large audiences,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content. “The success is also a clear reflection of how ESPN, working alongside the NFL and our colleagues at Disney, can help attract fans, build anticipation, and expand our reach. Even without a dramatic ending, it was an extraordinarily memorable evening.”

Turns out, the combination of “America’s Team” and Tom Brady is a recipe for success. Despite the game being largely non-competitive, it represented perhaps the final game in the 23-year career of the Buccaneers quarterback. Brady, 45, has yet to make a final decision on his future, though he was asked about the timeline after the game.

“I’m gonna go home and get a good night’s sleep — as good as I can tonight,” Brady said, adding that he has no timetable for making a decision, via ESPN. “This has been all I’ve focused on — this game. It’ll just be one day at a time. Truly.”

Cowboys Advance in Playoffs After Defeating Buccaneers

The Cowboys, meanwhile, notched the franchise’s first road playoff victory since 1992. They did so behind a potent passing attack led by quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott outplayed his counterpart, completing 25-of-33 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns. He added 24 yards on the ground on seven carries with a score. His 143.3 passer rating is the third-best ever in a playoff game with 30-plus pass attempts.