Football fans have reacted to the constant player protests and national anthem controversies in a way that the NFL simply can’t miss: They’re not watching.
They’re turning off the television rather than have their game night ruined with talk of Black Power and racism and … Colin Kaepernick. They’ve had enough.
NBC Sports is reporting that the ratings for week one of the NFL was lower than last season by every mark.
The Thursday night opener between the Panthers and Broncos was down eight percent from last year. Sunday night’s game between the Patriots and Cardinals was down a whopping 14 percent compared to last year’s Giants-Cowboys Sunday night opener.
According to SportsBusiness Daily, the ratings for the early game dropped from 9.8 in 2015 (Eagles-Falcons) to 9.1 for Steelers-Washington. The late game had an even bigger decline, with last year’s Vikings-49ers 9.5 shrinking to 7.1 for Rams-49ers.
Yes, with the Rams back in the nation’s No. 2 media market, the audience for a game that swapped out Minnesota for L.A. from one year to the next saw a 2.4-point drop in ratings. Via Richard Deitsch of SI.com, the total audience ell from 14.3 million to 10.3 million.
The quality of the game surely contributed to the decline. But last year’s 20-3 drubbing of the Vikings by the 49ers was a snooze-fest, too. It nevertheless drew four million more eyeballs. (Actually eight million, if we exclude the cyclops demographic.)
It’s enough to really piss off Jerry Jones, who said he’s had quite enough with the on-field protests over the National Anthem.
“I got to give a big pat on the back to our entire team, our coaching staff, our entire organization,” Jones said Tuesday during a radio interview with KRLD-FM, the Cowboys’ flagship station. “We strongly, strongly support the flag in every way we support — and it’s almost ridiculous to be saying it — the people who for generations and generations have given it all up so that we can get out here and show off in front of millions of people on television.
“We respect that so much. That’s the real business. The forum of the NFL and the forum on television is a very significant thing. I’m for it being used in every way we can to support the great, great contributors in our society, and that’s people that have supported America, the flag, and there’s no reason not to go all out right there. And for anybody to use parts of that visibility to do otherwise is really disappointing.”