Even as the Super Bowl continues to elude the Dallas Cowboys, they are “America’s Team” for a reason. Sunday’s matchup between Dallas and the San Francisco 49ers drew a massive TV rating and was the most-watched NFL wild-card game in seven years.

An average of 41.5 million viewers tuned into San Francisco’s 23-17 victory at AT&T Stadium. Viewership peaked with 50.2 million people watching the 2022 NFL playoff game, which came down to the very last play.

The game was broadcast on both CBS and Nickelodeon, though that didn’t exponentially increase ratings. More than 40 million of the viewers were tuned into CBS. Only 1.3 million people watched the game on Nickelodeon, which featured a broadcast aimed at children. 

Viewership for the Cowboys’ loss was up 35% from last year’s wild-card matchup that was broadcast in the same time slot. The New Orleans Saints defeated the Chicago Bears 21-9 in a game that kicked off at 4:40 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. It generated an average of 30.65 million viewers.

On Wild-Card Weekend 2015, 42.3 million people watched the Cowboys beat the Detroit Lions 24-20. 

Sunday’s 1 p.m. ET matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles was the second-most-watched game of the weekend with an average of 30.4 million viewers. The defending champs blew out the Eagles 31-15 in a game that was decided early in the second half.

The Buffalo Bills’ 47-17 win over the New England Patriots Saturday night drew the weekend’s worst TV rating with 26.4 million viewers.

Of the 100 most-watched TV programs in 2021, 75 were NFL games. The Super Bowl led the way with 91.63 million TV viewers. NFL games accounted for the top six on the list of last year’s most-watched shows.

With an average viewership of 37.84 million people, the Cowboys’ overtime loss against the Las Vegas Raiders on Thanksgiving was the fourth-most watched show of 2021.

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott reacts after a touchdown in the second quarter of the Cowboys' 56-14 NFL victory over the Washington Football Team Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott reacts after a touchdown in the second quarter of the Cowboys' 56-14 NFL victory over the Washington Football Team Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA via AFP / Richard Rodriguez