nfl ratings

NFL ratings are down over the past two seasons. That much everyone seems to agree on.

Beyond that? Well, it’s tough to find consensus.

We at Awful Announcing have heard all the potential explanations for why people aren’t watching the NFL like they used to. Some of them make sense. Others are totally ridiculous. Others are difficult to evaluate. In the interest of thoroughness, we have compiled all of these supposed factors, reasonable and otherwise, into one list.

Somewhere in here lies the truth about the NFL’s ratings decline. Good luck finding it.[link_box id=”81189″ site_id=”94″ layout=”link-box-third” alignment=”alignright”]

So there you have it. The NFL’s decline in ratings is about whatever the hell you want it to be about.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • Roger Bournival

    List fails without a) Russian meddling and b) Borg cortical implant devices….

  • Mongo Only Pawn

    All of the above in a variety of combinations.
    But the NFL median demo is 44. After a certain point, when your country is embroiled in a Cold Civil War, suddenly, it doesn’t matter if your football team wins. It sticks out as completely irrelevant.
    Overall, people are sick and tired — the NFL median demo and up — of having insane Leftist politics shoved in its face. There’s nowhere you can turn these days and not find these tyrannical, imploding whiners prattling on about some cause or perceived injustice.
    I have enjoyed my NFL-free life. It seems like all those year in the past were a complete waste of time and just a soul suck in general.
    Goodell is a failure as a leader. Saying he made money for the NFL is like saying the Saudis sold some oil. He has mishandled every issue that has come up.

    • Pearl

      Very well said.

    • namingrightsforsale

      It’s funny that you attack “leftist politics” in the same post you describe a product pushed by right wing businessmen in accordance with right wing principles to have been a “complete waste of time” and a “soul suck.”

      • JSpicoli

        Blowhard who is over his skis

        • namingrightsforsale

          Translation: “I don’t like what you said but I know it’s right.”

  • common_sense_is

    All I know is I stopped watching this year over the protests as has every one in my extensive family nd all of my friends, all of whom were die-hard fans previously. I am not even angry anymore. I just stopped caring, which is especially bad if that becomes the case across the nation. The NFL killed themselves like baseball did with the strike.

    • namingrightsforsale

      It’s interesting that it took minorities expressing displeasure with injustice for you to stop caring, rather than something like the boring playcalling, the lying about concussions, or the naked greed of the owners. Why do you think that is?

      • Charles Charmichael

        Wrong time, wrong place to protest. You think that NFL leadership would understand their target demographic. In an attempt to increase viewership, they have alienated their core demographic by dabbling in politics.

        • namingrightsforsale

          What is the right time and place? When people bothered by the protests don’t have to see them?

          • jollyjoker1

            I was thinking at families funeral. I mean, your doing it at veterans funerals.

          • namingrightsforsale

            What are you talking about?

          • Charles Charmichael

            The NFL chose to make political statements that did not resonate with their core audience. Do you really think that working class ex-military viewers want to watch a bunch of spoiled millionaires kneel at the National Anthem.

          • namingrightsforsale

            If they are misinformed about the situation, I suppose not. If they were properly informed about it, however, I’m sure they would be less bothered than they are.

          • Charles Charmichael

            The antics of the NL players is like that crazy religious nutcase standing on a street corner preaching with a megaphone. It is in exceptionally poor taste and is not likely to sway anyones opinion.

            Anyone who has bothered to do the research will find that blacks make up about 13% of the population but have committed 52% of the murders from 1980 to 2008. They will also find that the ratio of reports of violent crime to convictions by blacks is in-line with the report/conviction rate of other demographics. Those metrics do not indicate that blacks are being unfairly targeted, they commit more crime per capita, and are punished accordingly.

            We are seeing the end result of those bogus protests. Officers are being systematically killed just for being cops. The death rate for cops increased 10% from 2015-2016.

            Cops are also more hesitant to make contact with suspicious people resulting in staggering increases in violent crime. In 2016, there were 762 people killed in Chicago, a 58% increase from the prior year and all violent crimes increased by double digits. Gun homicide was up by 61%, Shootings 43%, non-gun homicide 31%, gun robbery, 26%, non-gun violent crime 10%, and property crime 6%.

            The reality is, if people did research on what was being protested, they would be far more likely to stop watching football, rather than basing their decisions solely on disrespect for the National Anthem.

          • Charles Charmichael

            The NFL can do whatever they want. But people are not obligated to watch it. The NFL forgot that there are many entertainment choices out there. When they stopped being entertaining.

            Lets see what happens if you go into work and offensively air your political views to your company’s clients while at work.NFL leadership was so enamoured by themselves that they just let this happen. If they had nailed Kirkpatrick with an unsportsmanlike conduct violation when this first happened the NFL would not be on the decline.

            The NFL was getting way to political when this started. They were begging for something like this to happen. They were poking their noses into local ordinances for bathroom issues, and having rainbow wavers and militant blacks play at the Superbowl. People got tired of the grandstanding and started changing the channel.

          • namingrightsforsale

            So people who were wrong got tired of being told they were wrong, basically?

          • brothermuzone

            Depends on where you work. Pretty sure you can’t tackle people at your job either.

      • common_sense_is

        They disrespected the flag and our country. It doesn’t matter what they are protesting.

        • namingrightsforsale

          How, exactly, is it disrespectful to the country? The country is more than a basic symbol.

          • common_sense_is

            Obviously you don’t understand and it cannot be explained to you. I have 5 brothers that served in the military. My dad volunteered to fight in Vietnam, even dropping out of college temporarily to do so. My grandfather fought in WWII. They fought and risked their lives for the flag. These millionaires crap on their sacrifice over some bs narrative that data has proven to be false.

          • namingrightsforsale

            They didn’t fight and risk their lives for the flag. They fought and risked their lives for the country that the flag represents. And if the country that the flag represents has major problems with it, isn’t it showing the most respect to fix those problems, rather than pretending they don’t exist?

          • brothermuzone

            Michael Bennett, Rishard Matthews, Bruce Maxwell all also have fathers who fought for the same country (Matthews is a member of a gold star family which the president constantly disrespects) and nearly everyone in the US has family members who are in the military. So they can relate to you but you can not relate to them. Black people have fought in every war in American history at times exclusively for rights of white people and yet this country has been disrespecting them for hundreds of years.

          • common_sense_is

            Not today we don’t. We just had a black president for 8 years for crying out loud. The sins of the past are just that, in the past. There is no institutional racism anymore. In fact, by far the most racist people I know are all black people toward white people.

          • common_sense_is

            Video evidence shows Michael Bennet made up the fact he was targeted for being black or that the cops in Nevada were in any way racist toward him. This is the person you hold up in your example? He has zero credibility. The “racist” slurs graffitied on campuses? All have been proven to be hoaxes to stir up controversy. Stop peddling this false narrative of blacks being disrespected.

          • brothermuzone

            Was the racist graffiti on LeBron James house proven to be a hoax? What the fullback for the giants? Also since the have been many hoaxes involving white lying about black committing crime (Susan smith, Jesse Anderson, Breana Harmon Talbott,Michael Dunn etc.) does that mean the its always a hoax or does that not apply to white people? Also the entire Bennett situation was not recorded. He is perfect example of a person with a father who was in the military like you claim.

          • common_sense_is

            I guarantee you the Lebron graffiti will prove to be a hoax. He probably had someone do it himself to garner more sympathy from the public or to bring even more attention to himself or both. You are probably one of those people who somehow think Michael Brown and O.J. Simpson were innocent.

          • brothermuzone

            Sure lol. If something does not your narrative its a hoax. I can do that too. NFL ratings drop are a hoax too. Im sure LeBron James needs more attention lol. Im sure you are one of those people who think Breana Harmon Talbott and Michael Dunn are innocent. I believe OJ was a murderer who got away do the fact that the lead investigator was an admitted racist who set up blackb people in the past. And yet people like you are ok with this

      • Carl Spackler, Jr.

        Also stopped caring about claims of racism, gays and all other Leftist causes. Too bad Lincoln could not carry through on his plan to return all blacks to Africa. It would have been a huge win.

    • brothermuzone

      I stopped watching football as much due to the poor quality of play and I know people who stopped watching due to the blackballing of kaepernick but nobody mentions that side of the equation

  • Joe Johnson

    2015…………Kaep didn’t protest………ratings were mostly solid.
    2016…………Kaep kneels………..ratings drop nearly 10%.
    2017…………other players kneel…………….ratings drop another 8%.

    *Note* The NBA and MLB have not been losing ratings at the tune of 9% per year, for the last 2 years. That wipes out cord cutting, “bad games”, and aliens abducting viewers.

    Racist kneelers/Leftist press = Tanking ratings.

    PERIOD.

    • namingrightsforsale

      In other words, you get triggered by minorities expressing their desire to see equal treatment in the country. Be honest about it – I’m not trying to judge you, and it’s only healthy way to handle it.

      • Charles Charmichael

        Yawn

        • namingrightsforsale

          Are you bored because it is so obvious that he is triggered by minorities expressing their desire to see equal treatment that stating so is trivial?

          • Charles Charmichael

            This cause is so 2016. The election is over and Hillary lost. It was a hot button issue that was specifically designed to give the Dems leverage in the 2016 election. It was being used in much the same way that Occupy Wall Street was used in 2012. The sad part is that people do not realise that they were being played.

          • namingrightsforsale

            So there’s not an ounce of validity to these protests – they’re all for political gain (read: dishonest) and not because people genuinely feel bad about real problems like racial inequality or wealth inequality?

          • Charles Charmichael

            Feeling bad does not make the problems more or less real. The politically driven BLM movement has done nothing to help the black community.

          • namingrightsforsale

            You’re deflecting now. We’re not talking about the BLM movement; we’re talking about whether or not racial inequality and wealth inequality are major problems in the country. Are they, or aren’t they?

          • Charles Charmichael

            We are all victims of our own choices. Wealth is directly attributed to the choices that we make. Are you suggesting that we take away people’s right to chose?
            Affirmative action is a major inequality that needs to be fixed. It permeates education, lending, and both private and public sector jobs.

          • brothermuzone

            Yes people don’t realize that they are being played. Hows your Trump University degree working out for you? Is that wall done yet? Is Obama care repealed? Has the swamp been drained? Did she get locked up?

          • Charles Charmichael

            Got a Masters from a state college, Prototypes of the wall were on display last week, Obamacare is all but dead, the change of leadership at the EPA, Justice Department, and the FBI is a good start on draining the swamp, and though there is nothing I would like more than to see her stand trial, watching Hillary make a fool out of herself fumbling with explaining the election loss, Weinstein, and soon with the FBI dossier is quite entertaining. .

          • brothermuzone

            Im sure you have a master degree on the internet. Everybody does along with millions in their bank account and supermodel girlfriends. And the answer to All my questions is a big fat orange NO.

          • Charles Charmichael

            LOL… More like in progress. The wall is getting built, The swamp is draining, Obamacare is on its final death throes, and Hillary’s political career ended spectacularly.

          • namingrightsforsale

            The swamp is draining? Are you aware of how corrupt Trump’s “administration” is at all?

          • Charles Charmichael

            So far nothing serious has hit the news. About the biggest thing was that Trump administration had to ask for the resignation of an official because they were abusing air transportation privileges. It is not like he has been supplying drug cartels with guns, using the IRS to target liberal organizations, meeting with DOJ officials on a deserted tarmac, or using a charity to solicit pay for play donations.

      • jollyjoker1

        equating dead veterans hauled up in a box with a millionaire talking about oppression in a vague concept not based on any statistical reality? get bent.

        If you SJW took 1 minute to actual look at the numbers you would know that more cops kill whites than black by a 4-1 ratio. its less 175 blacks out of a population of 325 million people. You can like it or hate but those are the numbers

        • namingrightsforsale

          Racial mistreatment affects a lot more people than just the (statistically) small amount that are fatally shot by the police. And no one equated Kaepernick and veterans; where you got that is unclear, but it makes little sense.

          Also hating people because you think they are stupid makes is itself very, very, very stupid. Do you hate yourself for your own stupidity?

        • brothermuzone

          Big difference is black people get punished for killing people. Police officers (some of which are black) get paid vacations. Also you do realize that you dont have to murdered by an officer to have your life turned upside down. How many sexual assault? How many beatings? How many have had evidence planted? Also you are far more likely to be killed by a police officer than a foreign terrorist and yet our society does an awful lot about that problem.

          • Joe Johnson

            Cops get sent to prison all the time for breaking the law. Black Americans killed cops at a rate 18.5 times higher, than the other way around, in 2015. You push lies, you get nowhere.

          • brothermuzone

            I know facts are hard but Zero cops were convicted in line of duty shootings as recently as 2015. How many of those black people got away with killing a cop?

          • Joe Johnson

            “I know facts are hard but….”

            Apparently facts are hard for YOU.

            August 28th, 2017 :http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/28/546898078/chicago-police-officer-convicted-of-unreasonable-force-in-shooting
            – “Marco Proano is the first Chicago police officer in at least 15 years to
            face federal criminal charges for a shooting while on duty………………….A federal jury deliberated for about four hours Monday before finding
            Proano guilty of two counts of using excessive force in violation of the
            victims’ civil rights..”

            When you wipe the egg off your face, realize there is a thing called DUE PROCESS. You may side with murderers, most don’t. And leave your racism and bigotry at the door next time.

        • Joe Johnson

          Not only that, but cops in 2015 were 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male, than a cop killing an unarmed black male.(per FBI data) 18.5 times more likely!!!! It should be the cops that are protesting against black Americans using violence against them en masse. But why don’t they? Because most cops are decent human beings, like most blacks. However, the Left is trying to create a false narrative, and reach far beyond the data provides. Hence, ZERO movement on this issue from the center or Right.

          We know what you Progressives and Marxists are doing. We see you guys lol. It ain’t happening. And the NFL will end this very soon, mark my words. You can’t continue to lose millions of viewers backing racists and Leftists, and also make the sponsors happy.

          • namingrightsforsale

            Most people on the left believe that most cops are decent. They just don’t like people making excuses for those that aren’t, and they don’t like people being dishonest about the role of subconscious racism in police work.

      • JSpicoli

        Get a format that is suitable, and maybe a narrative that is not false. Zero pumped up stupid blacks with rhetoric for 8 years. The smart ones are on our side, we have the best blacks, the best gays, the best women etc. Enjoy the next 7 years of MAGA.

        • namingrightsforsale

          lol

      • Joe Johnson

        I don’t think you get the concept of “triggered”, do you?

        Triggering refers to the idea of that people can use specific words to PHYSICALLY hurt people through “microaggressions”. So, trigger warnings go hand in hand with the term “triggering”. The American people are not asking for forced safe spaces through a government body, or public college. They are simply EXPRESSING their concerns about the racist players, and Leftist press, through NOT WATCHING.

        So let’s recap spaz.
        Triggered = “I’m so mad at the NFL for allowing racists to push a false agenda, I’ll sue or use violence.”
        Non-Triggered = “Oh, these players are comparing themselves to slaves, and pushing lies? Click (change channel)”

        The quality of argument from the Left has really degraded over the last decade, my gosh.

        • brothermuzone

          Oh. So you are just a snowflake who is so easily offended that you can can’t watch a game because before the game begins black people are giving voice to the voice less. Whatever you say sweetheart.

          • Joe Johnson

            Correction freak. I don’t watch racists, liars, and cry baby millionaires, who happen to also push a Leftist false narrative. As I referenced above, black Americans have been killing cops at a faster rate, than vise versa. Scream into the breeze, while ratings collapse, it’s getting you nowhere. LOL.

          • namingrightsforsale

            You’re getting triggered right now by his comments. He says something you don’t like and you start off right away with an angry, hateful insult. It’s very obvious.

          • Joe Johnson

            Why are you “triggered” by me? Does truth hurt you? It seems so. LOL

        • namingrightsforsale

          Based on this post, I don’t think you understand the concept of “triggered.”

          Being triggered refers to having an unpleasant emotional and physical reaction to some sort of information stimulus – a word, a smell, or, say, the sight of people peacefully protesting – to which a person is sensitive due to things like their past experiences or belief systems. The “trigger” is just the information stimulus to which the individual is sensitive. Individuals can react to their trigger through one of three ways: anger, avoidance, or tolerating the unpleasant feeling. Avoidance is sometimes necessary if the trigger is something the individual is not yet emotionally capable of handling, but it still indicates that the individual is sensitive to that trigger.

          As much as you want to insist otherwise, being bothered by NFL players kneeling for two minutes during the national anthem (in order to help the country that the anthem represents) to the extent that someone would stop watching the NFL indicates that they are triggered. Not a single competent psychologist would honestly argue otherwise.

          • Joe Johnson

            Time for an education from your indoctrination.

            1. You LITERALLY just defined what I said in my first post, but missed why changing the channel is not being “triggered”. LOL
            “Triggering refers to the idea of that people can use specific words to
            PHYSICALLY hurt people through “microaggressions”. ”
            AGAIN, the problem is, you don’t understand the context of the word.
            The word is in essence, a Cause and Effect. NOT JUST A CAUSE.

            2. Origins from Leftist Academia
            The term’s origins come from rape victims FEELING re-violated when reading about their own, or other, rape incidents. From there, a movement arose in Academia that “triggers” should be avoided, as if they were actually PHYSICAL “aggressions” against people. College campuses across America thus created “safe spaces” against triggers, and also on campus codes and citations to those that “TRIGGER”. This, is in total compliance with proposed Leftist doctrine that 1st amendment rights SHOULD BE curtailed and heavily regulated through coercion (barrel of the gun). Disagreeing with kneelers is not being “triggered”. FORCING the kneelers to stand through government means IS.

            3. From Leftist Academia to Leftist Law (guns forcing political correctness)
            To prove that this is not just a few thousand crazy Leftist colleges , enter Canadian Human Rights Tribunals.

            Canadian Comedian Fined 15,000 for making jokes about Lesbian couple: https://jezebel.com/5794709/comedian-fined-15k-for-insulting-lesbian-couple

            ^^^^^^^ That is “triggered”. The Lesbian Couple were TRIGGERED.
            Cause = Lesbian couple feel PHYSICALLY attacked through microaggression.
            Effect = Doctrine that enforces thoughts through coercion.

            And something that Democrats and Leftists in America, IN THE MILLIONS want to bring here in the good ol’ USA.

            3. So as much as you want to insist otherwise, the context of the term is against you. Sorry pal. “Triggered” is a term that can only be applied to post-moderinists , Marxists…… IE…..the LEFT. The Left created and implemented the context of the word, YOU must abide by it. Not my problem. Here endeth the lesson.

            (By the way, by your own definition, you are triggered by my posts. LOL. All smiles).

  • Mike McCormick

    NFL quarterback Ken Stabler dies of colon cancer.
    Nfl dies of Colin Cancer

    • brothermuzone

      The NFL gets higher ratings than anything else on Television.

      • Pinhead Larry

        Not for long (pun intended)

  • R.E.A.L Human Rights

    The reality is that the NFL genuinely has that many (maybe more) problems, which mostly come down to a debate of shared Character and Values. Habit and tradition allowed some to overcome their cognitive dissonance on this. The concussion issue, the endless out-of-control violence against women and children, the rape and sexual abuse, the criminal behavior, etc. Reality is the NFL efforts to stop domestic abuse, protect player’s cognitive skills, have been a dismal failure as well. The 2014 Ray Rice elevator video of beating Janay Palmer and knocking her out, while initially only getting a 2 game suspension. People could not “un-see” that. The Character and Values of NFL players may not be fair to judge, but as long as they are “role models” for children, then the public will judge that. People already had been slowly turning off, turning away, and it has not been dramatically noticeable. Before the protests, a lot of the public was already prepared or had already lost interest in the NFL. The protests were simply the last straw for some, but the problems were building up for a long time before that. Delaware has an article that veterans going to sports bar areas have fallen from 40-50 to like 2. The value of the NFL at one time was that it gave people of different backgrounds a topic that they could safely discuss, now that has increasingly gone. 4-5 years ago, a man might have made “small talk” with another male stranger on the NFL, but now you have no idea what that would result in. Losing that “small talk” subject is also a damage to the U.S. society, and fragments people who would otherwise be less fragmented.

  • jollyjoker1

    Just keep kneeling players. Your really making fools of yourselves and destroying the league.
    SJW = 0
    American flag = 1

    You lose.

    • namingrightsforsale

      Did you vote for Trump? Do you still support him if so?

    • brothermuzone

      You are not going to be missed. The NFL is still by far the highest rated thing on TV

  • JSpicoli

    All that and more existed before 2015. What changed was the racist players outing themselves as racists and anti-american pawns of the left.

    Done. #boycottnfl 4 life. Never coming back.

    • namingrightsforsale

      How, exactly, are people who want to make America better “anti-American”?

      • JSpicoli

        They are disrupting over NOTHING. There is no hunt for blacks. Disrespecting the anthem and flag is anti american.

        • namingrightsforsale

          So black people are treated just the same as white people in America today?

  • R.E.A.L Human Rights

    How do you un-see the lack of Character and Values repeatedly among well-known NFL figures, while the NFL has had a history of failing to act?

    For example – Baltimore initially gave Ray Rice a 2 game suspension over this – now Rice is a “spokesperson” on domestic violence for the NFL. Really? http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_ekaflcqq/

    There is a consistent problem in a lack of Character, Values, Respect in the NFL. Beating up referrees that you see with your own eyes on television, like Marshawn Lynch. Do you want your child to cheer for that?

    Many American are incensed by what they consider disrespect for the U.S. flag / national anthem. Will further divisions among us change the problems that the original protester was concerned about? Because change requires a cooperative effort. Not one side telling the other what to do. That is not how we achieve social change. Social change is and can be achieved, but not by division, not by disrespect, and with the NFL already suffering from a problem in Character, Values, and Respect – it was the perfect storm to sink even the untouchable NFL.

    Character, Values, and Respect matter to the American people, and the ability to maintain cognitive dissonance over the NFL for the sake of “tradition” is waning away.

  • Sunny

    I am delighted when snowflakes like Alex Putterman write propaganda like this to deny the reason why the NFL is sliding into its grave. It IS about disrespect during the National Anthem. That IS the reason for the decline and articles like this that deny that fact only make the NFL in a weaker position and the well deserved death of the NFL gets greater with every apologist liberal that write these lies.

    • namingrightsforsale

      Why do you care about (supposed) disrespect during the national anthem but not, say, the disrespect shown by using “snowflake” as a mindless attack insult, or the disrespect shown to minorities and poor people, or the disrespect shown daily by the orangutan in a suit that we currently call president?

  • Pinhead Larry

    The NFL needs people. People don’t need the NFL.
    Subpar Product
    Too many penalties
    Too many replays
    Too many plays called back
    Outrageous Endzone dances
    Thuggish behavior on and off the field
    And the icing on the cake: A big F U to the largest demographic of their fans.

  • Super Mateo

    Cord cutting lmao Almost all NFL games are on over-the-air TV. The only ones that aren’t are the Monday night games and selected Thursday night games. And even then, the local team is simulcast on an OTA.

    The others can all be argued and debated forever without having a conclusion reached. All I know is my own reasons: unlikable players and it feels like 85% of air time is something other than football plays.

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  • Raymond Chuang

    I really think the NFL needs to go back to just Sunday 1 and 4 pm (ET) games plus the Sunday night game only. Get rid of Thursday and Monday night football.

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  • David Swank