Not retiring after all seems to suit Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady quite well.
Demolishing the Dallas Cowboys in their home stadium 19-3 on the season opener of the 45-year-old Brady and the Bucs even pulled off a few jaw droppers along the way.
While openly lacking the family in-fighting of the latest episode of House of the Dragon over on HBO last night, the total collapse of the Jerry Jones-owned Cowboys’ offense was one thing. However, the one-handed touchdown catch by the Bucs’ Mike Evan from a perfect pass by his QB is surely one for the highlights reel for at least a week to come. On the other hand, no pun intended, an almost last-minute injury for Cowboys QB Dak Prescott could see the vital player off for up to eight weeks due to his damaged thumb.
Back for the inaugural week of the NFL’s 103rd season, NBC and SNF probably wished there was more of an actual match-up on the field at Arlington, TX’s AT&T Stadium, but no one really wishes to deny the legendary Brady the opportunity to strut his multiple Super Bowl winning stuff. That 625th touchdown throw of his 22-year NFL career that teammate Evans caught was another milestone in an unprecedented mountain of milestones Brady has amassed over the decades.
Truth be told the audience for last night’s SNF could likely be at least a minor milestone of its own.
The Bucs’ blowout of America’s Team pulled in 23.36 million viewers for NBC in early numbers
That’s up a huge 32% from last year’s SNF season opener on September 12, 2021 when the current Super Bowl champs the LA Rams beat the Chicago Bears 34-14 in the City of Angels. Last night’s SNF is also up a touch from the total NBC, Peacock and the NFL Digital properties from just over 21 million who watched the Buffalo Bills’ 31-10 whooping on the Rams in the 2022-2023 season opener on September 8.
When you add in Peacock, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital platforms, 25.1 million tuned in for last night’s Bucs’ big win.
Final linear TV numbers are expected tomorrow from NBC, but the brass at both the net and the league have to be extremely pleased with the data so far. Right now, last night’s SNF had the best season opener viewership since the 26.9 million who saw the NY Giants and Cowboys clash in the non-Peacock days of September 13, 2015.
Coming off those big numbers, TV’s so-called biggest night is coming up on the Comcast-owned net in a few hours with SNL alum Kenan Thompson hosting. For more gridiron action, there’s the season launch of tonight on ABC and ESPN with the Denver Bronco up against the Seattle Seahawks. The September 18 SNF finds the Bears vs. the Green Bay Packers, a game between two midwestern giants that has some serious national following – but, of course, it is all a numbers game, isn’t it?