By Lynette Rice
Updated September 12, 2011 at 03:16 PM EDT

America was definitely ready for some football: NBC’s opening telecast of Sunday Night Football featuring the Cowboys versus the Jets posted a 16.9 rating/27 share on overnights — the best showing for week 1 gridiron action since Sept. 2, 1996 (Cowboys/Bears, 20.2/33 on ABC).

These are early results based on metered markets; final, more detailed numbers will come later.

The game was up 3 percent over last year’s opener between the Cowboys and the Redskins and up 26 percent over the 2009 start featuring the Bears and the Packers. The game peaked from 11:30 to 11:45 p.m. ET when it generated an 18.2/34.