A long time ago, in a TV galaxy far, far away, sports - even football - struggled to outperform entertainment options that have broader audience appeal in prime time.

“Monday Night Football” peaked at No. 5 in the ratings rankings in the 1994-95 television season, for example.

It was not until 2011-12 that a sports show finished No. 1 – NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” That was only the beginning. For the 2015-16 TV season that ended Wednesday, “SNF” finished on top for a fifth year in a row.

And that counts only prime time. The late Sunday afternoon NFL window on CBS and Fox also is a ratings powerhouse.

As other TV ratings have fractured in an era of increased competition and rampant time-shifting, live football games remain viewership gold.

Of the 23 prime time telecasts during 2015-16 that drew at least 20 million viewers, 13 were “Sunday Night Football” games, four were NFL playoff games, one was a “Thursday Night Football” game, one was the BCS Championship Game and two were shows that immediately followed NFL playoff games.

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The only two shows to average more than 20 million viewers and have no connection to football were the Academy Awards and Grammy Awards – two other live, mostly DVR-proof programs.

“Sunday Night Football” averaged 13.0 percent of homes and 22.5 million viewers, both tops among all prime-time shows. It also was No. 1 in the advertiser-friendly age 18-49 demographic for the sixth season in a row.

NBC said only one show has been ranked No. 1 in prime time more than five years in a row – “American Idol” in the six years that preceded the current run by “Sunday Night Football.”

Two other shows had five-year streaks – “The Cosby Show” from 1985-86 through 1989-90 and “All in the Family” from 1971-72 through 1975-76.

“Gunsmoke” won four years in a row from 1957-58 through 1960-61.