Sunday night's thrilling Jets-Cowboys game on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 drew the highest overnight ratings in the six years NBC has broadcast Sunday Night Football.
The highly anticipated NBC season opener drew a 16.9 overnight rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. The primetime evening game drew the highest primetime rating since the Cowboys and Bears recorded a 20.2 rating in 1996.
The combination of the attention surrounding the 9/11 anniversary along with two of the biggest television markets likely played a role in the superb ratings. According to Nielsen, the three highest rated television markets were all in Texas: Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.
Prior to the Jets-Cowboys game, NBC's highest rated games also involved the Cowboys. 2010's Cowboys-Eagles game and 2009's Cowboys-Giants game both drew 16.5 ratings. The rating is up 3 percent over last year's Cowboys-Redskins game and up 26 percent over 2009's Packers-Bears opening night game.
Sunday night's game featured a thrilling 27-24 comeback, aided by a late Tony Romo interception to Darrelle Revis and a Nick Folk 50-yard field goal to seal the win. The ratings reached their peak at 18.2 between 11:30 to 11:45 p.m. -- right as the Jets made their comeback.