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How have NFL TV Ratings been in the 2020-21 season?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady
Walter Sharp
Modified 11 Jan 2021, 13:57 IST

The National Football League was celebrating a jump in ratings over the past two seasons. That celebration was ended during the the 2020 NFL Season. The NFL would see ratings drop across all broadcasts and cable networks.

Not counting the games that had to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic the NFL struggled in ratings. Coming into the 2020 NFL Season the National Football League was enjoying close to 16.5 million viewers from the 2019 NFL Season. The 2020 NFL Season would see a 7% drop in the amount of viewers and would record the worst TV rating since the 2017 NFL Season.

What games helped the NFL TV Ratings in 2020?

Dallas Cowboys and Washington Football Team would meet on Thanksgiving Day. This game was aired on FOX and would bring in 30.3 million viewers which is the highest for the 2020 NFL Season. FOX would televise ten of the highest games when it comes to ratings in the 2020 NFL Season.

CBS would follow FOX by airing six NFL games that brought in a good amount of viewers. NBC and NFL Network would bring in one game a piece that would help the NFL TV ratings. The game that the NFL Network helped in TV ratings was the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings game on Christmas Day. That game was also aired on FOX as well.

The only other time the NFL had at least 25 million viewers for a game was in Week 1 of the 2020 NFL Season. New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers would meet in Week 1 bringing in 25.9 million viewers. That high viewer amount is due to the matchup between Tom Brady and Drew Brees.

Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football both see declines

On the bright side for the NFL, Sunday Night Football would bring in on average 16.8 million viewers in 2020. This is the 10th consecutive season that Sunday Night Football has led the NFL in prime time ratings. The bad news is that the viewership declined from the 2019 NFL Season.


In 2019 Sunday Night Football had average 20.5 million viewers. The 16.8 million viewers on Sunday Night Football is the worst its done since the 2008 NFL Season. Kansas City Chiefs vs Las Vegas Raiders brought in the most viewers for Sunday Night Football.

Monday Night Football also took a hit during the 2020 NFL Season. It averaged 11.8 million viewers which is a slight change from the 2019 NFL Season. In 2019 Monday Night Football would bring in 12.1 million viewers. The highest viewed game for Monday Night Football was in Week 3 when the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens met bringing in 14.7 million viewers.

What has happened to the NFL TV ratings?

With everything going on in the world with the COVID-19 pandemic, we would think the NFL ratings would be through the roof. NFL fans were not allowed to attend the games so that brought opportunity for the TV ratings to grow. This did not happen in 2020 it actually declined, but why?


With all the rescheduling and games being moved around it really hurt the NFL in TV ratings. It was like a scavenger hunt trying to find when teams played. The NFL played on all seven days in the 2020 season for the first time.

Having more games being played during the week hurt ratings as well. Majority of the NFL viewers have Sundays off and can watch the games. Once the games were moved to during the week it made it tough for viewers to tune in.

The NFL can most likely count on the ratings going back up in the 2021 NFL Season. Once the pandemic calms down and the schedules go back to normal everything will level out. For now the NFL just needs to wait out the storm and hope for better days next season.

Published 11 Jan 2021, 13:57 IST
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