The Dallas Cowboys, or America’s Team, are always one of the most-watched teams in the NFL, but this Thanksgiving was different. The Las Vegas Raiders-Cowboys matchup Thursday delivered an estimated 38.531 million viewers, which made it the most-watched NFL regular-season game on any network since 1990. Back in December of 1990, the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers delivered 41.474 million viewers.
This was actually something Cowboys owner Jerry Jones predicted, as he told reporters after the game, “This will probably be the most watched game other than the Super Bowl,” according to PFF’s Ari Meirov.
Unfortunately for Jones, the most-watched NFL regular-season game since 1990 did not favor his Cowboys, as Derek Carr led the Raiders to a 36-33 victory in overtime. Dallas mounted a comeback down double digits in the third quarter but came up short in the extra period.
Jones also lamented the cornucopia of penalty flags in the game, as the teams were penalized 14 times each for a total of 276 yards. Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown was flagged four times just by himself! He also drew a flag which turned out to be the turning point in overtime, as he was called for pass interference on a third-and-18 that set the Raiders up with great field position to kick the game-winning field goal.
“I hated that it got down to just throwing the ball up and getting the penalties to get you the big plays,” said Jones.