The 2021 NFL season got off to quite a start. There was plenty of entertaining football played and storylines galore to discuss and dissect after the week's action.
It was also, by all accounts, a fairly successful opening week for the league's rightsholders. NBC got huge ratings for Opening Kickoff, and the ManningCast on ESPN was a big success, notching 800,000 viewers as an alternative to the main broadcast. Sunday's slate of games was actually down a touch from 2020, a mildly surprising development given the absence of election coverage/the overall return to normalcy but nothing for FOX or CBS to sound the alarms about quite yet.
Without further ado, here are the numbers.
NFL Week 1 Ratings
Thursday Night Football Ratings
NFL on CBS Ratings
CBS' Sunday games put up an average of 33.47 million viewers overs the 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET games.
FOX NFL Ratings
FOX averaged 11.18 million viewers for the network's 1 p.m. Eagles-Falcons game, down 17 percent from 2020. FOX's 4 p.m. Packers-Saints blowout averaged 16.24 million viewers, down 37 percent from 2020 (it should be noted that in 2020, the FOX game in this timeslot did not have to compete with CBS like it did in 2021).
Sunday Night Football Ratings
The SNF slate of Rams-Bears averaged 17.64 million viewers, down seven percent from 2020.
Monday Night Football Ratings
The ESPN Megacast of Ravens-Raiders averaged 15.29 million viewers, up a whopping 59 percent from last year's Monday Night Football opening week doubleheader. The Megacast ratings include ESPN, ABC, and ESPN2.