Ratings: ‘Sunday Night Football’ Earns Its Best Ratings Yet

Jets-Cowboys matchup has best overnight ratings for Sunday or Monday night first-week game in 15 years

NBC's "Sunday Night Football" opener featuring the New York Jets' win over the Dallas Cowboys was the top-rated "Sunday Night Football" game so far and had the best overnight ratings for a first-week primetime game on a Sunday or Monday night in 15 years, the network said.

The game, from 8:30-11 p.m., had a 9.5 rating/23 share in the coveted 18-49 demo and 23.1 million total viewers, according to preliminary national numbers. Factoring in "Football Night in America" from 7 to 8:30, NBC averaged a 7.8/20 and 19.2 million total viewers overall in the preliminary national numbers, enough to easily win the night.

The preliminary numbers are likely to go up 10-12 percent when final numbers are released. In overnight numbers reflecting a time-zone adjusted household rating from 56 cities tracked by Nielsen, the game had a 16.9/27. NBC said it was the best number available for comparisons with past games.

The 16.9/27 was up three percent over last year’s "SNF" season opener (Cowboys-Redskins, 16.4/26) and 26 percent over the 2009 "SNF" season opener (Bears-Packers, 13.4/22). NBC began airing "SNF" in 2006.

Fox came in second, thanks in part to an NFL overrun at 7 that scored a 7.2/21 and 17.9 million total viewers, according to the preliminary national numbers. The San Francisco 49ers-Seattle Seahawks conclusion and a preview of "X Factor" from 7:30-8 earned a 4.4/12 and 10.4 million total viewers. Fox ran re-runs from 8-9:30, when an overrun of a "Family Guy" rerun and a new episode of "In the Flow With Affion Crocket" had a 1.3/3 and 2.7 million total viewers.

CBS had a 1.3/4 and 8 million total viewers for "60 Minutes" at 7, and a 3.6/9 and 12.2 million viewers for "9/11: 10 Years Later" from 8 to 10 p.m. It aired a "Good Wife" rerun at 10.

ABC aired repeats until 9 p.m., when a new "20/20: The Sixth Sense" had a 1.0/2 and 4.4 million total viewers. At 10, the "20/20" special "Remembrance & Renewal: 10 Years After The 9/11 Attacks" had a 1.6/4 and 5.5 million.