2nd UPDATE, 2:30 PM: Reports of the NFL being knocked down this season may have been a bit premature – at least according to the results of last night’s New York Giants bruising 10-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

With the final numbers in, a season record 26.5 million viewers tuned in for the Sunday Night Football NFC East match-up between the two big market and nationally followed teams. That’s the best any primetime NFL game has done on any network this season and best Week 14 audience the NFL has had since 1989 when ABC’s Monday Night Football pulled in a TV crowd of 26.502 million to watch the then L.A. Rams and the SF 49ers clash.

In a season of declining NFL numbers and too many blowouts or lame scoring games, the Cowboys, along with the Patriots and a few other teams, have proven the get well pill for the league. For instance, the overall most watched game of the 2016/17 season so far is the November 13 afternoon 35-30 game between the Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers. That Fox-aired game had 28.9 million viewers that Sunday.

And hoping to take SNF out of 2016 on a bang – it’s the Cowboys again on the NBC and NFL franchise next week against Tampa Bay.

PREVIOUSLY, 7:54 AM: The team with the best record in the NFL this season was shown how they do it in New York last night on Sunday Night Football as the Dallas Cowboys lost 10-7 to the New York Giants.

The legitimately dramatic face-off not only broke the Cowboys’ 11-game winning streak but also scored the NBC and NFL a SNF high in a season that has seen low ratings bedevil the league and broadcasters. In fact, with a 16.5/26 in metered market results, the Week 14 game between the nationally followed Giants and the nationally followed Cowboys delivered the top NFL regular-season ratings, with the exception of kickoff weekends, since Week 17 of the 2013 season on December 29 of that year, when a Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles game got a 16.8/28.

Even though they were up against the usually formidable midseason finale of The Walking Dead last night, there is more good news for the NFL and NBC. For one, putting the two major-market teams together for a long-awaited rematch (the Giants also beat the Cowboys earlier this season) saw SNF surge up 39% over last week’s MM ratings. That game, the Seattle Seahawks’ 40-7 crushing of the Carolina Panthers, went on to get a 6.1/19 rating among adults 18-49 with 17.75 million viewers – numbers that last night’s game is sure to smash.

To add weight to that, Week 14 to Week 14, last night’s game is up 19% over the New England Patriots-Houston Texans match-up of the comparable week in 2015. The Giants’ win over the Cowboys matches the MM result of the 2010 Eagles-Cowboys game to become highest-rated primetime Week 14 battle in MM numbers since the 17.3/27 that the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings hit on ABC’s Monday Night Football in 1997.

There actually were other things on TV last night like The Last Man On Earth and a special The Making Of Frozen, but SNF looks to be handing NBC the win with the game hitting a 17.2/31 high from 11-11:30 PM ET. As we wait for fast affiliates, here are the Top 10 local MM results for last night’s deservingly high-rated game –which, cause you need one more stat, is the best the Cowboys have done on SNF in the Dallas market:

  1. Dallas – 42.3/62
  2. San Antonio – 32.6/50
  3. Austin – 27.3/45
  4. Albuquerque – 25.9/38
  5. Richmond – 25.9/38
  6. Norfolk – 23.7/36
  7. Memphis – 22.1/31
  8. New York – 20.7/31
  9. New Orleans – 19.9/27
  10. Houston – 19.6/31

UPDATE, 8:59 AM: Coming off a multi-year high in metered market numbers, last night’s Sunday Night Football (7.7/22) is looking pretty strong in the fast affiliates too on night that saw competition from The Walking Dead midseason finale on cable and Frozen (1.7/5) on ABC.

Though there will undoubtedly be adjustments later, the New York Giants hard fought 10-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys crossed the line into some of the best numbers of a struggling season for NBC and the NFL. Certainly compared to last week’s Seattle Seahawks 40-7 pounding of the Carolina Panthers, last night’s SNF surged up 34% among adults 18-49. With a viewership of 23.43 million watching, the Giants/Cowboys game could become one of the most watched of the year not just on NBC but all the nets. NBC won the night with a 6.2/18 and an audience of 19.18 million

As NBC was all NFL, over on Disney-owned ABC it was almost all Frozen with the Oscar winning blockbuster making its broadcast debut. Pulling in the net’s second best 8 – 10 PM Sunday numbers of the season, the more-than-solid performance on the competitive night was followed by The Making Of Frozen: A Return To Arendelle (0.9/3) special. The distinctly non-Frozen America’s Funniest Home Videos (1.0/4) that started ABC’s night was even with last week’s show.

There was football on FOX too yesterday which spilled into the net’s prime and hence pumped up the early part of the night for The Simpsons (2.4/8) and Son Of Zorn (1.3/4) even with the NFL overrun night of December 4. Family Guy (1.1/4) and The Last Man On Earth (1.0/3) down 31% and 9% in the key demo respectively.

CBS’ 60 Minutes (1.3/5) was down a tenth from the final adjusted numbers of last week but the House of Moonves’ The Dick Van Dyke Show – Now In Living Color (0.7/2) reveled not all throwback is a sure thing. Madam Secretary (0.7/2) and Elementary (0.6/2) were both down from their pushed last original of November 27 by 30% and 14%.