NFL: 10 Most Watched Monday Night Football Games of All Time
The National Football League has all kind of statistics on its website, including the ten highest rated NFL Monday Night Football games of all time, according to Nielsen Company Figures. In a truly “C’mon Man” worthy moment for the program, not since 1990 has a Monday night game cracked its way into the top ten. Find out which games made the cut, and other facts about NFL Monday Night Football the year they did.
10. Dallas at Washington, October 8, 1973 (share: 40 percent; rating: 24.6), and Minnesota at Atlanta, November 19, 1973, (share: 40 percent, rating: 24.6)
In 1973, O.J. Simpson made his Monday Night Football debut, and these two games statistically tied in Neilsen ratings. Dallas and Washington were both 3-and-1 going into the Monday night game in October. The Redskins won, 14-7 over the Cowboys, making both touchdowns in the final four minutes of play.
Then in November, the 9 and 1 Vikings squared off against the Falcons who were 7 and 3 so far that season. The Falcons won, 20 to 14, but the Vikings went on to win the NFC championship, and lose the Super Bowl to the Miami Dolphins.
9. Cincinnati at Oakland, December 6, 1976 (share: 40 percent, rating: 24.7)
It was 52 degrees when the Bengals met the Raiders for this week thirteen matchup. The Raiders had the better record (12-1, compared to 9-4) and won 35 to 20.
8. Pittsburgh at Dallas, September 13, 1982 (share: 42 percent, rating: 24.9)
The Steelers had a win to their name, the Cowboys a loss, going into this game. The Cowboys may have led the way in net passing yards, first downs, and total yards, but it was the Steelers who triumphed, 36 to 28 in Dallas. According to Bleacher Report this is also the first game where the Steelers played their 3-4 defense.
6 (tied). Dallas at Miami, December 17, 1984 (share: 40 percent, rating: 25.1)
Dallas (9-7) played the first, and the last Monday Night Football games of the season in 1984. But it was the first that was kinder to the Cowboys, when they won over the Rams. The Dolphins (14-2) won the final Monday Night game of the season, 28-21.
6 (tied). Pittsburgh at Houston, December 10, 1979 (share: 40 percent, rating: 25.1)
Getting the same rating as the Dallas-Miami game, but in a different year, is this late season face-off between the Pittsburgh and Houston, where each team had a record of 11-and-4. It was the Oilers who edged out the Steelers, 20 to 17. The year 1979 was the tenth season of Monday Night Football.
4 (tied). Philadelphia at Miami, November 30, 1981 (share: 40 percent, rating: 25.3)
At week 13 in 1981, the Eagles were 9-and-4, and the Dolphins had 8 wins, 4 losses, and a tie. The Dolphins won, 13 to 10.
4 (tied). Pittsburgh at San Diego, December 22, 1980 (share: 40 percent, rating: 25.3)
The 9-and-7 Steelers went down to the 11-and-5 Chargers, 26 to 17. With the win, the Chargers won the AFC West title, and became the top seed for the conference. Also in 1980 on Monday Night Football, Howard Cosell announced John Lennon’s death.
3. Dallas at Washington, October 2, 1978 (share: 43 percent, rating: 26.8)
Another classic Cowboys-Redskins game pitted the 3-and-2 Cowboys against the 5-and-0 Redskins. It was a low-scoring game, with Washington winning 9 to 5. President Jimmy Carter was at the game, seeing the Redskins defeat the reigning Super Bowl champions.
2. New York Giants at San Francisco, December 3 1990 (share: 42 percent, rating: 26.9)
Playing at Candlestick Park, the Giants (10-2) took on the 49ers (11-1). The 49ers beat the Giants, 7 to 3, with John Taylor scoring off a 23 yard pass from Joe Montana. The game still holds the record of being the second lowest scoring game in Monday Night Football history.
1. Chicago at Miami, December 2, 1985 (Share: 46 percent, rating: 29.6)
The Chicago bears had a perfect record going into the game against the Miami Dolphins and Dan Marino. Marino threw three touchdown passes, and two more touchdowns from Ron Davenport gave the Bears their only loss of the season, 38-24. But that hardly stopped Chicago from going on to win the Super Bowl.