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NFL Network’s Dallas Cowboys-Arizona Cardinals season finale on Christmas night was watched by an average of 7.8 million viewers (not including over-the-air stations in Dallas and Phoenix) – topping all daytime and primetime programming on cable for the day. Viewership peaked at 10.2 million from 10:45-10:55 PM ET as the Cowboys took the lead before the Cardinals kicked the game-winning field goal.

Cowboys-Cardinals drew nearly double the viewers of the second-most watched sporting event on cable (Bulls-Knicks on ESPN, 4.0 million viewers) and exceeded the combined viewership of three NBA games on ESPN that day (Bulls-Knicks; Nuggets-Thunder 2.0 million viewers; Blazers-Warriors, 1.7 million viewers).

NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football averaged a record 5.7 million cable viewers this season – up from the previous mark set last season (5.5 million viewers) and up 54% from 2008 (3.7 million viewers).

NFL Network’s 5.7 million average viewers for Thursday Night Football in 2010 topped the 5.6 million average for the 2010 MLB Playoffs on TBS and the 4.2 million average for the 2010 NBA Playoffs on ESPN/ESPN2 and TNT.

With 7.8 million viewers (not including OTAs), Cowboys-Cardinals is the third-most watched game in the five years of Thursday Night Football on NFL Network behind Dallas-New Orleans on Dec. 19, 2009 (10.5 million viewers) and Green Bay-Dallas on Nov. 29, 2007 (10.1 million viewers). NFL Network posted two of its four most-watched games this season with the Thanksgiving night Bengals-Jets game ranking fourth (7.1 million cable viewers).