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Cowboys and Patriots a Ratings Hit

November 18, 2003

FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) _ The New England Patriots’ 12-0 victory over the Dallas Cowboys was the most watched cable television program in eight years and the fifth-largest audience in the history of cable television.

The game featured a matchup between coaches Bill Belichick of New England and Bill Parcells of Dallas, who spent 15 years coaching together, including four seasons with the Patriots, when Parcells was the head coach and Belichick his top assistant.

Even though there was little excitement on the field, the coaching story was enough to draw a 9.6 rating and 15 share on ESPN on Sunday night, or approximately 8.45 million households.

The rating is the percentage of all homes with TVs, whether or not they are in use. The share is the percentage of sets in use tuned to that show.

The most-watched show in cable history was CNN’s debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement on Nov. 9, 1993. The rest of the shows in the top 10 are all NFL games

Belichick was a Parcells assistant with the New York Jets and Giants as well as with the Patriots. But the two split up when Belichick resigned as the head coach of the Jets on Jan. 4, 2000, one day after he succeeded Parcells.

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