The Bears remain big TV attractions even with a 4-7 record and very little hope for a playoff berth. T The average viewership for the three NFL games on Thanksgiving was 29.7 million, which was the highest since 1998 and the Bears' 16-14 win over the Detroit Lions drew a viewership of 26.75 million.
This was a 14% improvement over the early game in 2020. This was all the more surprising considering it was a matchup of an 0-9-1 team against a 3-7 team.
The Cowboys game with the Las Vegas Raiders right after the Bears game drew the largest audience for a regular-season NFL game in almost 30 years, 37.84 million on CBS. That was a 23% increase over last year's late afternoon game. It was the most people to watch any NFL regular-season game since 38.4 million watched the Cowboys and Miami Dolphins on Thanksgiving Day in 1993. That was the famed "Leon Lett" game.
Later, the prime-time game on NBC between the Buffalo Bills and the New Orleans Saints drew viewership of 19.38 million, down 7% from the 2019 game. There was no prime-time game last year because it was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.
The Thanksgiving Day ratings weren't the only sign the Bears remain a big draw on TV. Their game in Green Bay for Sunday night, Dec. 12 could have been flexed to a game between two competitive team.
However NBC has decided to keep that matchup at Lambeau Field for SNF.