CBS: 50 Million Watched Chaotic 49ers, Cowboys NFL Wild Card Game Ending

The NFL playoff game between longtime rivals the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys was watched by more than 41 million people — the highest audience for a wild card contest in seven years, according to CBS.

Driving viewership in part was the chaotic fourth quarter that saw the Cowboys battle back from a 23-7 deficit with a chance to take the lead with just minutes remaining. A slew of penalties and mistakes by both teams resulted in time running out for the Cowboys deep in 49ers territory.

CBS said 50 million people watched the ending of the game that sends San Francisco to Green Bay, Wisc., to the play the Packers on Jan. 22.

The NFL postseason remains a ratings giant, with the weekend’s other games drawing big numbers. More than 26 million people watched the Buffalo Bills easily beat the New England Patriots 47-17. The game was also streamed on Paramount+.

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The Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 31-15 win over the Philadelphia Eagles generated more than 30 million viewers, while the Cincinnati Bengals’ win over the Las Vegas Raiders generated almost 28 million viewers on NBC and Peacock. The platforms combined for more than 28 million viewers of the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs game won by KC.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals vs. S.F. 49ers Most-Exclusively Streamed Football Game

The Dec. 26 NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals was the first professional regular season football game to be exclusively streamed online without a national broadcast. The week 15 matchup was viewed in part by 11.2 million people, including 4.8 million “average minute audience” on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch — a record for an NFL game. The game was also broadcast locally in San Francisco and Phoenix — upping the “average minute audience” to 5.9 million.

Notably, the NFL said that viewers streamed more than 800 million combined minutes of the game, which would rank it among Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 streaming content chart tracking Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+.

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Prime Video is the current streaming partner for “NFL Thursday Night Football,” which is broadcast nationally by Fox Sports.