Football has returned, and America is ready for it! The NFL surged out of the gate in 2021 after a few seasons of sagging ratings and storylines about the decrease in popularity of the country’s most popular sport. In an instant classic, the Dallas Cowboys faced up against the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the crowds were massive. The game drew massive TV numbers, which should continue through an outstanding Week 1 slate.

The matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lived up to the anticipation.

Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepares for a play during the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium to kickoff the NFL season on September 09, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.

Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepares for a play during the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium to kickoff the NFL season on September 09, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. The NFL season begins with a matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys | Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Hard Knocks vs. Super Bowl Champions matchup promised to be exciting, and it didn’t disappoint. 

After a late go-ahead touchdown drive by Dak Prescott and the Cowboys, and a game-winning drive by the GOAT, Tom Brady, the game ended 31-29. Prescott threw for 403 yards and three touchdowns, while Brady threw for 379 yards and four touchdowns.

There were also some throwback efforts from veterans like Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, and Amari Cooper, as well as a breakthrough game from CeeDee Lamb, a second-year wideout.

It was a great opening salvo in the fight for the Super Bowl in 2021, and the massive audience numbers matched the amazing product on the field.

The NFL’s first game drew massive crowds.

Overnights: According to a source, NBC’s overnight coverage of the Cowboys-Bucs game reached a five-year high. Overnight, the 15.9 is up 16 percent from last year. Because this figure excludes out-of-home watching, the ultimate national figure is probably likely to rise much more.

10 September 2021 — John Ourand (@Ourand SBJ)

The game between the Cowboys and the Buccaneers was not only entertaining, but it also drew millions of spectators. According to Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, “NBC’s overnight coverage of the Cowboys-Bucs game reached a five-year high, source says.” “Overnight, the 15.9 is up 16 percent from last year.”

“24.4 million people tuned into NBC; 26 million viewers watched through NBC, Peacock, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital platforms,” according to NBC’s official statement.

These figures reflect a huge 20 percent increase over previous season and the best since 2015.

The NFL’s comeback in popularity is likely due to a number of reasons. The epidemic, the political environment, and player safety concerns have all played a role in the league’s declining viewership in recent years. Some of the national discussions around all of these problems have shifted in recent months, which may suggest that more individuals are coming to grips with their difficulties with pro football and are returning to the game.

There are many more intriguing matches in Week 1 as well.

For the 2021 season, the NFL did not play it safe with the drama. Right away, there are some excellent matchups that should continue the trend established by the Cowboys and Buccaneers and attract a lot of attention.

There are many intriguing games for NFL fans around 1 p.m. EST. The early games’ heavyweight matchup is the Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. It includes a Pittsburgh Steelers squad that began 11-0 previous season and a Buffalo Bills team that was one of the AFC semifinals. The victor of this game will rule the conference for at least a few hours.

The Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns square battle in a repeat of the AFC Divisional round playoff game, thus that title may change after the late games. If the Chiefs win again, they will be the overwhelming favorites in the conference. If the Browns can win, they’ll become a popular Super Bowl choice in the future.

The Los Angeles Rams face the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football to round off the day. The players to keep an eye on are Matt Stafford and Aaron Donald. Rams-mania will spread if they can lead their respective teams to the heights many expect. On the other hand, the Bears may have a shot this season if Dalton can keep it tight. Otherwise, the clamor for Justin Fields will get louder.

In Week 1, there’s a lot to see, and if the first game taught us anything, it’s that a lot of people will be watching.

Pro Football Reference provided all stats.

RELATED: Matt Nagy Explains the Bears’ Problems by Saying His Offense ‘Takes a Few Years to Get Going’

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