Bills-Cowboys gives CBS its highest Thanksgiving rating in 27 years

Mike Florio

A full 27 years after a season that ended with the Cowboys beating the Bills in the Super Bowl, the Bills beat the Cowboys in a game that generated the highest ratings for CBS on any Thanksgiving Day since 1992.

Via Ryan Glasspiegel of, the game drew an average audience of 32.538 million viewers. It was the most-watched NFL regular-season game on any network in three years.

Last year, the Thanksgiving game between Washington and Dallas had 30.5 million viewers.

It’s no surprise, given that the contest matched the 8-3 Bills against the 6-5 Cowboys. Enhancing the intrigue were owner Jerry Jones’ comments about coach Jason Garrett, which prompted legitimate speculation that, if the Cowboys were to lose, Garrett could be fired.

Even without the added interest, the game in that late-afternoon Thanksgiving slot always does well. It’s American’s Team playing before the captive audience that comes with America’s Holiday, and it’s always going to do well — even when the game stinks.