With NFL ratings failing to rebound this season after a startling drop last year, it is becoming more and more clear that the league faces a real problem, not merely a blip.

As America hysterically debates the causes of the NFL’s ratings woes, television executives have their own explanation, according to Sports Business Journal: over-saturation of football.

Consider how much football fans have to choose from. There’s Thursday Night Football. There are high school games on Friday, if you’re into that. There is a huge slate of college matchups on Saturday. There are NFL games in London many Sunday mornings. Then there are the regular games in the afternoon. Then Sunday Night Football. Then, finally, Monday Night Football. It’s hard to blame even a diehard for getting a little worn down by the end of the extended weekend.

And so, per SBJ, television executives have a couple potential solutions to this problem. They have reportedly lobbied the NFL to cut back its Thursday Night Football package from 18 games back to eight, as well as to slide the league’s London games back to 1 p.m. ET (6 p.m. in London).

It’s easy to understand why the NFL has spread out its games so widely. Football is still incredibly popular, with massive amounts of interest in even the least appealing matchups, so the league wants to get eyeballs on as many games as possible. As long as TV partners have offered to air games at non-traditional times, the NFL has given the green light. But at the same time, much of the NFL’s magic is the communal experience of watching football all day Sunday, parked in front of the television from noon to midnight. The more the league disperses those games, the more it loses the ritual at the center of its myth.

Several executives summed up the over-saturation problem to SBJ:

“It’s not just an NFL issue or a college issue; it’s a football issue,” said Mike Mulvihill, executive vice president of research, league operations and strategy at Fox Sports. “The rise in football availability is pretty dramatic. This is what drives fragmentation in every area of television. … You can argue whether there’s greater or lesser interest in the game of football than there was 10 years ago. But clearly whatever that interest is, it’s being spread out over quite a few more windows than it was 10 years ago.”


“I do believe that there is a lot of football on and by the time you get to Sunday, there could be a fatigue,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports. “Much of the loss of viewers is coming from 18- to 34-year-olds. They more and more are getting satisfied by the alternatives of highlights and scores that are available during the game. That continues to train young viewers to follow our sports, not watch our sports. That is concerning for all sports television.”

As the NFL’s ratings issues become more persistent and the league’s PR headache accelerates, the league will presumably open up to changes. And if the TV networks are serious about a condensed schedule, maybe they can talk (and spend) their way into one.

[Sports Business Journal]

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.

  • NorthstarMN

    Over-saturation? That’s a pitiful excuse lol I know it’s a lame excuse because the word is starting to make it’s rounds on news sites.

    • Jay Taylor

      Haha right? For the most part, NFL is a Sunday thing. Other than that, a Thursday game nobody really watched anyway. Wonder why MLB and NBA’s ratings aren’t tanking? There are games nearly every day. The fans have said via survey that the protests are offensive to them. You offend your core audience and you lose viewers. Doesn’t really take an MBA to figure that out. At the end of the day the NFL is a business. I’m not sure these meatheads realize that if sales, advertising and general fan interest goes down so does their salary.

      • Then why were the NFL’s ratings dropping before the protests?

        Uh-oh! Your false narrative just evaporated!

        • Joe Johnson

          The NFL ratings were not dropping at the rate they are, until Kap started kneeling. Since 2016, ratings have dropped nearly 20%. Kap started protesting and kneeling since the beginning of 2016.

          • Incorrect.

          • Joe Johnson

            Ok. Proof? I got mine. Kap didn’t start kneeling until preseason 2016. Can you show me the drop of 9% from 14-15? NOPE. But I can show you the drop from 15-16, and from 16-17.

            Go lie someplace else. You’re hurting your own cause. LOL Like the writer of this “article”.

          • Walt_Gekko

            Actually, network ratings overall are down FAR WORSE than the NFL and cord cutting is a big reason why.

        • Jay Taylor

          Some smug metabolically challenged dope on the internet said it, so it must be true! How ignorant of me to question some random nobody on the internet who is putting up zero data to support his claims while taking little pot shots at every poster and masturbating with smug satisfaction thinking to himself “tee hee, I win, I’m such a great debater.” I don’t disagree that other factors play into the ratings drop. There are absolutely other factors at play, including lack of stars, too many commercials, Unlike you, I’m able to see both sides of a situation because I’m not blinded by political ideology. Even ESPN has said the protests are a leading cause of why viewers are tuning out. ESPN is hardly Breitbart or Fox News or whatever source you think anyone who disagrees with you gets their info from. Your entire life is a false narrative. Peddle your poorly informed myopic echo chamber opinions elsewhere. Also, you argue about on the same level as Donald Trump. Wrong! Incorrect! Mixing in the bigot card because you have no real argument and you think it affords you an automatic “win”. Look up bigot in the dictionary. “A person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.” Sounds kind of like you doesn’t it? In my opinion, the players have every right to protest. That said, the fans at the end of the day then can decide if they still want to watch. Simple as that. The only thing I stated was a simple business principle. If you alienate your audience and it’s bad for business.

          • Son, your lack of intelligence is showing. Sit down before you fall down.

  • Karl

    The most under-reported piece of the NFL ratings decline is the secular decline in TV viewing industry wide. The NFL also added windows on Thursday night and Sunday morning without a consistent network; the CBS/NBC split doesn’t work on TNF and the Sunday morning games are split between NFL Network and Yahoo.

    A better idea would be to add an 18th week to the season and give teams two bye weeks and give any team going into TNF a bye week to improve that product (if they must continue with a full season Thursday slate). Could also move to give CBS & Fox both doubleheaders every Sunday just like the current Week 17.

    I don’t think the novelty of TNF works on a full season schedule either, maybe give viewers a taste for the opener Week 1 and then make it a Thanksgiving night debut like it used to be. If not, at least keep TNF on one net.

    • Walt_Gekko

      I have proposed that myself many times, though to even out the doubleheaders on FOX and CBS, I would go to 19 weeks, every team getting three bye weeks with at least one and sometimes two tied to mid-week games.

      I would make two other changes:

      The last week, ALL games would be split up between the NFL’s TV partners with all games from one conference kicking off at 3:00 PM ET and the other conference kicking off at 6:45 PM ET. NBC would get the #1 game in each slot that week, FOX/CBS split #2-3 games, ESPN/ABC split #4-5 games (ESPN game also airs on ABC DT-2 Channel), NFL Network airs #6 game each slot (also airing on COZI TV, NBC’s DT-2 Channel), FS1 and SPIKE TV (or another CBS/Viacom cable outlet) get the #7-8 games (that also would air on BUZZR, FOX’s DT-4 Channel and Decades, CBS’s DT-2 Channel).

      For losing the final Sunday Night Game, NBC gets a new Wednesday-after-Thanksgiving game hosted on an alternating basis by the Jets and Giants that would be tied to the tree lighting in Rockerfeller Plaza that would be at halftime of that game.

      • Dale Moog

        WHAT? This is SO crazy.

        • Walt_Gekko

          You can’t comprehend the idea of the last week having all of the games divied up between all of the TV partners (with a couple of games on cable that also would air on the networks DT-2 Channels)? Most other sports leagues around the world have all of their games in one conference or in the entire league on the last day (including MLB) at the same time. That assures every game that could matter does matter.

          The Wednesday-after-Thanksgiving game is specifically designed to go after casual fans who would be tuning in for the tree lighting at Rockerfeller Plaza. Tying the Christmas tree lighting ceremony to an NFL telecast likely means big ratings for NBC.

          • Karl

            I love the passion and thought you put into this but networks don’t like splitting viewers with competing networks. If it were one rightsholder like the Olympics or EPL it could work but the NFL purposely gets in bed with eveyrone.

            I’d much rather see the last week of the season throw non-playoff implication games on Saturday so the fans can watch the coaches that are about to be fired and the teams that are going to draft early. Plus it’s not fair to Jets fans to not show them the most relevant games on the last Sunday of the season.

            I also think you are overestimating the 30 Rock tree lighting interest- until I read your comment I was not aware it was televised. Not saying it wouldn’t be cool, just noting it’s not a draw.

          • Walt_Gekko

            The tree lighting has been on NBC for over two decades and has done solid numbers. Tying it to a special Wednesday-after-Thanksgiving game would do big numbers.

    • Dale Moog

      Yes the crazy split for TNF is horrible since week one and Thanksgiving are NOT part of the Thursday night package. The games are on NBC then NFL Network the CBS+NFL+ prime video then back to NFL then NBC+NFL+ Prime Video. this makes everyone crazy

    • Walt_Gekko

      If you cut back Thursday Night Football to say after Thanksgiving, the NFL would likely have to work out something on that front that might include:

      Changing the current NBC Thanksgiving Night game to the Wednesday after Thanksgiving and tying it to the tree lighting at Rockerfeller Plaza (as noted in other comments of mine).

      Beginning with Thanksgiving Night, there are Thursday night doubleheaders with Game 1 at 7:00 PM ET and Game 2 at 10:30 PM ET (split where one game airs on CBS or NBC and both games air on NFL Network, this can include the occasional game that starts in the Central Time Zone at 9:30 PM local time). There also as part of this are in Weeks 15/16 the Saturday doubleheaders expanded to tripleheaders with the games airing at 3:00, 7:00 and 11:30 PM ET/12:00, 4:00 and 8:30 PM PT.

      • Walt_Gekko

        Failed to note, because of Thanksgiving night being at 7:00/10:30 PM ET, the traditional Thanksgiving Day games are moved up, with the early game moved up to 11:30 AM ET/8:30 AM PT and the late game moved up to 3:00 PM ET/Noon PT. There also would be a “Black Friday” game, most likely in London that would kick off at 2:00 PM ET/11:00 AM PT (7:00 PM local time in London).

    • Joe Johnson

      The racist protesters, media, and academia, are why the NFL ratings (according to polling of fans themselves).

      1. From 2014-2015, ratings did not drop at such a high rate, if at all.

      2. In 2016, Kaepernick begins to kneel and protest in the preseason.

      3. Ratings drop roughly 10% in 2016.

      4. With more players kneeling in 2017, ratings still slide deeper in 2017.

      5. Trump brings more attention to the kneelers.

      6. Overall ratings for 2017 are down AGAIN, nearly 9%.

      7. From when Kap started kneeling, until now, the NFL has lost nearly ratings 20%!!

      There is no OTHER WAY to spin this. The Leftist politics are destroying the NFL, just like it destroyed ESPN.

      Facts don’t care about your feelings, no matter what straws you grasp at.

      • Karl

        So no impact whatsoever from fewer cable subscribers, people watching Netflix or other on demand content? What about Peyton Manning retiring? Also, ratings were slipping BEFORE Kaepernick- what a mind blow!

        • Joe Johnson

          “Also, ratings were slipping BEFORE Kaepernick….”

          EVIDENCE????? Again, this lie keeps getting thrown out there without any evidence. Will somebody PLEASE cite where the NFL was dropping 9% per year, prior to 2016!! Until then, people like you and the writer, have become nothing more than part of the tin foil hat brigade. On top of which, why aren’t other channels and sports tanking at similar rates if due to streaming? The NBA and MLB are going strong, not dropping 10% per yer.

          Truth and agenda are separate entities. You do yourself a disservice, with your comments.

      • namingrightsforsale

        I agree that facts don’t care about your feelings. Here are some more facts:

        Being bothered by football players protesting problems with America during the national anthem is a sign of weakness in an individual who either fails to understand the truth or is incapable of confronting it. Saying that “leftist politics” are destroying the NFL is a lie — people might be boycotting the NFL because they are triggered by the sight of football players showing they care about other people, but football players caring about other people is not the problem. Rather, the problem is with those who are boycotting the NFL, because they are running from the truth rather than accepting it. And if you asked people who are boycotting the NFL how they identify politically, most of them would say they are conservative.

        How do you feel about those facts?

        • Joe Johnson

          How about these facts:
          1. Timing
          Protesting during the National Anthem because you lost your starting job, is not only weakness, it is insulting to actual issues that need to be addressed. What’s more WEAK, are people that fall for the ruse. Kap NEVER knelt when he had the QB job, and those that took it hook-line-sinker, belong to the useful idiot brigade, that would make Lenin proud.

          2. Context
          Next is the the reason of the protesting. Let’s see, a guy that wears “pig cop socks” (which Kap does), is somebody I am going to take serious on police brutality? Isn’t that that SAME EXACT STEREOTYPING that black Americans complain about(and rightfully so)? “View me as an individual, not a statistic?” No, that would be too complex and hard for simpletons like yourself to comprehend.

          What is also hard for you to swallow, is THE REAL DATA. In 2015, per FBI stats, a cop in America was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black man, than a cop killing an unarmed black man. So what the hell are we even discussing here? If anybody that should be protesting, it’s American cops being forced into extremely volatile circumstances, while morons get to play Monday morning quarterback, from the safety of their police protected suburbs. To this DAY, people still reference “hands up don’t shoot”, which was deemed false by the Obama administration. AND YET, the Rams will forever be ridiculed for running onto the field with their hands in the air, signifying the self-degradation the Left promotes on the ill-informed.

          3. Symbolism
          When REAL civil rights activists, like Jim Brown, come out and say the anthem is not the place to do this, morons like yourself should take note. It’s similar to naming your movement “Black Lives Matter”, which is excluding a large base of people that would be needed to make true change, and it’s beyond idiotic. Being INCLUSIVE, is the name of the game to get the ball rolling on some particular issue. The anthem represents a time of UNITY, not a time of division. If we were weak as a society, the MILLIONAIRE blacks players, which are being compared to slaves (effing insulting), would have ZERO ability to voice their concerns off the field.

          Finally, I would consider you strong, if you actually owned up to the facts. Why wouldn’t you? What’s wrong with saying the NFL has allowed protests during the anthem, and the AMERICAN PEOPLE, have rejected the protests (due to the reasons spelled out above). That makes YOU weak as an individual, but us strong as a society. The Free Markets are taking care of this circus. If it was a righteous cause, there would be such a ground swell, the numbers would not be tanking. But it is the opposite. Mountains are being made of mole hills, and the ignoramuses are being humiliated for the world to see.

          Your feelings have nothing to do with those facts. You just have to eat them.

          • Liz Young

            Your reply should be the top comment! Spot on.

          • Joe Johnson

            And notice my above comment, with facts from the FBI, Obama Admin, and current data, is “awaiting approval”. I hope ‘awfulannouncing’ allows a free exchange of ideas FROM BOTH SIDES. Not to be part of the problem, but part of the solution.

          • namingrightsforsale

            You’re delusional if you think all the “American People” have rejected the protests. Or do you think that all the people who have accepted them aren’t true Americans? That’s the sort of thinking that isn’t all that American itself, though.

          • Joe Johnson

            “I don’t have to time to address the litany of falsehoods you’ve
            presented here, particularly because I have little faith that you’ll
            admit you’re wrong, so let’s focus on one important point instead:”

            Why would I take somebody seriously, who can’t even mention one of the “litany of falsehoods” provided? LOL

            Keep dodging guys……it’s just too easy………LOL

        • delder

          I am not wathching NFL football again. That’s a fact

  • Deon Hamner

    It works in College because they’re a dozens of conferences that the little ones can play on like a tuesday or wednesday. But for the NFL it’s really no point of having games on Thursday. Opening night and Thanksgiving and leave it at that. Also the last CBA killed the quality of the game. The players use September games as extended training camps. Can’t hit in practice. It’s a terrible product…

  • Bscotch Bscotch

    Pick a narrative, Mikey.

  • Shame Hannity

    Over-saturation is exactly the problem. You have Thursday night football, all day Sunday football, and MNF. You have a couple of college games on Thursday and Friday nights along with games from morning to midnight on Saturday. Also, Tuesday and Wednesday MAC games begin next week. Add in Friday night high school football (for those who follow) and yeah, I would call it “over-saturation”.

    • R.E.A.L Human Rights


    • Dale Moog

      They have 3 or 4 College games on Friday night as well College games are now on Sunday I watched UCON on a Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago. It was crazy

      • Walt_Gekko

        That Sunday game was a one-off that was done because UConn’s home field was unavailable for a Saturday game due to a previously scheduled professional soccer match. UConn was supposed to be off/on the road that weekend but a host of changes were made due to the University of South Florida’s game at UConn having to be postponed to November 4 after Hurricane Irma hit and caused USF’s team to be unable to travel and needing to take care of business at home.

  • james williams

    Hey nfl!! Let’s have an experiment! Announce that all teams will stay in the locker rooms during the anthem for the rest of the year. Then watch the “over saturation” magically disappear! Dummies.

  • bibliomaine

    Thursday Night Football is a cash-grab, heedless of the impact on the work force and the resulting diminished quality of the actual games. There is no need for Thursday Night NFL games.

  • R.E.A.L Human Rights

    So the argument is that NFL ratings are down 20 percent from 2015, because suddenly everyone has decided that there is an oversaturation of NFL games. There is a difference between listening or caring about the public and its many concerns (e.g., brain damage, domestic violence, etc.), and looking for excuses. After watching Ray Rice beat the crap out of Janay Palmer, and initially Ravens only gave Rice a two game suspension, I am sure many human beings had to stop and question, what are we cheering for in the NFL? And the Janay Palmer was not the first. There were many, many, many before her attack. But by the end of 2014, with the elevator video of her attack, it was really hard to pretend there was not a problem. The fundamental problem was an oversaturation of violence and disrepect for one another, not games. Once the idea that basic human decency was expendable in the NFL, there has been a growing environment of contempt for American lives, standards, and laws. A week ago, Marshawn Lynch went out and grabbed and pushed an NFL official on the field. (It is disgusting we should have to say that it was a black American NFL official.) But people cheered and praised Lynch for this. This is what we are supposed to cheer for? There is a big difference between aggressive sportsmanship and alley mugger behavior. The NFL keeps going in the latter direction. And a lot of Americans, on multiple levels, not only can’t cheer for that, but don’t even want to look at that anymore. They don’t even want to bring that into their living room at all. Values really do matter. It is really sad that so many sportswriters have gotten so used to obscene levels of violence that they just shrug off rape, beating, child abuse, domestic abuse, murdering dogs, etc., etc. What was different in 2014 is that the public SAW it. There was no more “plausible deniability” at that point.

    • soundguy

      They’re really digging to find an excuse, aside from people are sick of supporting the NFL. That reality is much more terrifying to them. Is it that difficult to believe people have stopped watching because of the laundry list of reasons you stated above?

    • delder

      And let’s not forget how they shoved Micheal Sam in our faces and him kissing his boyfriend. No, sorry, had enough

      • Robbymack87

        what’s the matter with Michael Sam being shown kissing a person of his own choosing? You get offended that easily by a behaviour I’m sure you regularly engage in (kissing)

        • Joe Johnson

          Why are you offended that he’s offended? Do you get so easily offended that people disagree with what they want to watch on TV? Sam got to kiss his BF, and somebody changed the channel. People on both sides gotta chill.

          • Robbymack87

            Why the inference I’m offended as opposed to making an observation on the stated comment?

          • Joe Johnson

            Because he is replying to the context of the article….what the NFL has done to lose ratings. You are replying to the context of HIM.

          • Robbymack87

            Because HE states…….c’mon man

          • Joe Johnson

            You must let go of the why people stopped watching. That won’t get anywhere. Come on bud, you’re probably smart enough to know that.

          • Robbymack87

            Were you even the person this was originally addressed to? Move along already

          • Joe Johnson

            Then stop responding to me. Just remember, you can’t force people to feel your way, and try to stay on topic.

          • Robbymack87


  • sportsfan365

    Product quality stinks. Nothing but penalties and instant replay delays.

  • jollyjoker1

    when i read this, i get the impression that these idiots in charge have no idea how offensive the kneeling is to the average fan. i casually talked to 5 people i know they were all pretty much going to burn jerseys of these ungrateful idiots.

    • namingrightsforsale

      You have an unconventional definition of “ungrateful.”

  • swany

    1) Thursday nights are the prototypical timeslots advertisers covet.
    2) Live sports are the only guarantee ad spots will be watched in broadcasting.
    3) Friday is payday and those 18-49 year-old men will have that money burning a hole in their pockets.

  • Shannon Cats

    Seriously? Who do you think you are talking to? Everyone with an ounce of sense knows why the ratings are down. It’s called the ingrate players.

    • Ratings were dropping before those “ingrates” (which they’re not) started protesting. Your bigotry is duly noted.

      • sawdustInmyeye

        what a idiotic reply

        • Yes, yours is. Congratulations; recognizing that you have a problem is the first step to solving it.

      • Joe Johnson

        Ratings did not begin to drop, at the rate they are, until Kap started kneeling. FACT.

        I give credit to Kareem Jackson (black NFL player) of the Texans. He openly admits ratings are TANKING because they are kneeling. This game of trying to point the blame at anything but the racist players, coward owners, and inept press, is actually why somebody like Trump got elected (whom I despise). People have to assume responsibility ALL AROUND, not just one way. And for too long, “reporters” and academia have laid waste to any attempt at pursuing the truth. That pursuit, cannot be limited to solely a Leftist lane.

        The truth is, this is a complex issue for what the context of the kneelers are doing. And it is not going to get fixed at a football game. IF ANYTHING, it represents one of two hard to swallow realities: either people are too ashamed to point at themselves for where a specific community is, or that the problem (as laid out) does not exist.

        • That is NOT a fact, and your ridiculous assertions have already been disproven. Thanks for playing.

          • Joe Johnson

            Ratings are down 18% since 2015. You know what didn’t happen in 2015? Kap didn’t kneel.

            You guys can try to lie and spin all you want, the numbers don’t lie. I would say thanks for playing, but you never got on the field.

  • Michael Fallon

    I wonder why the NFL did not have these rating problems in 2015?

    • They did, they simply weren’t as pronounced.

      • Joe Johnson

        They didn’t. No where close to the tune of 9% per year, the last 2 years. Lies won’t help your cause.

  • JSpicoli

    Keep doubling down on the excuses. Americans are not watching.

    The racist players are burning the house down.

  • Super Mateo

    The “executives” are either delusional or in denial, possibly a little of both. All of the NFL’s ratings issues are due to two major issues:

    1. The players, in general, are extremely unlikable, both on the field and off. They (not the refs) are the reason for the tons of flags. Add in sack/TD dances, the first down gesturing, anthem kneeling, and off field issues…and it’s really easy to hate these guys.
    2. The games plod along at a glacial pace, with way too much ad time and dead ball time. Injuries, flags, exact measurements for first downs immediately after the referee guesses where to place the ball, reviews, timeouts, long ad breaks, etc.

    Fix these two problems and I’ll be back. I’m not expecting it to happen, though, so I may be saying goodbye to the NFL.

    • nbtx27

      The issues you presented are true. But even when they are fixed, I won’t be back. I have found plenty of other things to do on Sundays, Mondays I only watched if the Patriots played. (Thursdays I never gave the NFL a second thought anyway.)

    • Dale Moog

      Not ALL of them just Skipper at ESPN he is such a dope. He has ruined the network. He is the leading cause of all the politics being played at ESPN. He is the sole reason for the demise of ESPN

  • Gee, who could have seen THAT coming? (Answer: everyone.) Oversaturation, ridiculous rules, terrible enforcement of said rules, and their complete non-reaction domestic violence issues, brain trauma and cheating attempts (the slaps on the wrist that the Patriots get when the league feels like even acknowledging their cheating is a joke)… these are all the reasons why the ratings have been dropping for longer than they care to admit.

    Besides, NOBODY really wanted football on Thursdays. The teams hate it because it’s an even shorter turnaround than the weeks of Monday night games. The broadcast network contracts are for only a half of the football season because none of them wanted to throw away their most profitable advertising night for something that wasn’t a sure bet (and they were correct in their misgivings). And the fans don’t like it because all of that conspires to put an inferior product on the field and on the TV.

    But yeah, let’s blame players kneeling during the anthem for the ratings decline. No, yeah, sure, that makes sense.

  • Bill Walsh

    It is no doubt true that over-saturation, as well as cord-cutting is causing these rating declines. It may be their primary cause. But the anthem protests and ESPN’s politicization of sports is also a huge factor and the media’s insistence it is not is interesting — and telling.

    • Walt_Gekko

      There are a bunch of very vocal types who are boycotting over the protests (failing to realize the real reason those happened in the first place, especially those who also fail to realize President Trump may have an agenda to get back at the NFL for things that happened both in 1986 and 2014), but overall, I think it’s more because of cord cutting as well as people overindulging on College Football on Saturdays with so many games going on at once and games going constantly going on from Noon ET all the way to 2:00 AM ET or later on Sunday morning.

      • Joe Johnson

        It’s not because of cord cutting. The NBA and MLB would be seeing similar drops, and they are not.

        Kap started kneeling in the beginning of 2016. There is ZERO coincidence that the NFL has lost nearly 20% in ratings since then. Why is it only affecting the NFL in such large numbers? Nobody can explain this, because it’s a fallacy. People don’t want politics in their sports and entertainment. PERIOD.

  • Nunya Bidness

    Yeah….that’s not it.

  • Joe Johnson

    Let’s do a mini timeline for you inept reporters, like Alex Putterman.

    2016 Preseason: Colin Kaepernick begins to sit, kneel, and protest the National Anthem
    End of 2016 Season: NFL ratings drop nearly 10% from the previous year.
    2017 Season Begins: Players still kneel, and Trump brings attention to the issue.
    Through first 5 weeks of 2017 season: Ratings were down roughly 8% since 2016.

    Ratings are now down 18% since the 2015 season, you know, the season in which Kap did not kneel………

    Lies and spin like this, are why morons like Trump got elected. You want more Trump and people like him? Keep pushing a false agenda, like the kneelers, and people will continue to take a brash hack over liars. Once you finally admit you are mainly to blame for not reporting on the truth, things will start to change for the better.

  • Adam Domo

    ding ding ding ding ding

  • Dave Purpura

    Oversaturation is definitely part of the problem, but so are all the other off-the-field and that one big on-the-field issue. It hasn’t lessened my enjoyment of the NFL. I enjoy the games more than college because it’s the best football in the world and I don’t want to spend four hours watching an NFL game like I do a big college game. Plus when there are dozens of college games on Saturday, not to mention many other days of the week now that we’re getting into the latter part of their season, that’s a huge part of the oversaturation issue.
    Save Thursday Night Football for the second half of the season, starting the first or second Thursday of November depending on how the calendar falls through the Thursday before Christmas. I usually have TNF on as background noise or because there is nothing else to watch, but the games just aren’t good.
    Keep the tripleheader on Thanksgiving.
    I’d also love to see the Saturday afternoon doubleheaders brought back for the final three weeks of the season. First game at 12:30 ET on CBS or Fox, second game at 4 on Fox or CBS and then a night game on NFL Network at 8.

  • Pingback: Here's a running list of all the reasons people have claimed NFL ratings are down()

  • DK


  • eddie willers

    LOL. “Over-saturation” is the cause [roll eyes].

    These guys kill me.

  • eddie willers

    If you think oversaturation is the cause, then Trump’s election shocked you.

  • Parts

    All I can say is that it’s EXACTLY why I’m not watching as much

  • hargen

    Football is over saturated, sigh. These apologists keep coming up with new reasons other than the real reason, kneeling. If football is over saturated why are college football rating up, by 50% in some markets? I know, exciting teams, alumni spirit, blah, blah.

  • tomdoy


  • Schmolik

    I know I lost quite a bit of interest after Peyton Manning retired. It also took away Tom Brady’s main rival so it almost seems now like it’s Brady vs. the rest of the league which isn’t as exciting to me as when it was Brady vs. Manning.

  • Schmolik

    I think the whole league would appreciate fewer Thursday Night football (or just scrap them altogether). Or as Karl said go to two byes and guarantee teams have a bye the week before a TNF game. So Week 1 is the Kickoff Game, Week 2 no TNF game (unless you want two teams to have Week 1 off). Two teams have Week 2 off (but it’s OK since they will get another bye later in the season) and those two play the Week 3 TNF, two teams have a bye Week 3 and will play the Week 4 TNF), etc.

    Of course if the TV partners really didn’t want TNF all they have to do is not bid on it.

    I think another idea that could work on a limited basis in November/December. Have a set of late night Sunday night games on NFL Network starting at midnight ET (OK it would be “Monday Morning” in the ET)/9pm PT after SNF exclusively featuring NFC West/AFC West teams such as Rams/49ers. They do the 2nd MNF that way now. Perhaps they can move up the SNF to 8pm ET instead of 8:30pn ET so they can start the late night game at 11:30pm ET. I would say the Seahawks and if the Rams get good wouldn’t need these games because they would play on SNF but if the 49ers suck they can use these games to at least get some national TV exposure for anyone on the East Coast who still wants to stay up that late and doesn’t care about work Monday morning:)

  • R.E.A.L Human Rights

    FYI, I happened to see an article in the Delaware news, which provides a perspective outside of typical coastal news reports. “There are reports that attendance is down at American Legion and VFW posts across the country. Some posts have canceled the NFL Ticket, the package that allows them to show all of the games, or refused to turn on the televisions.” At Dover American Legion, the sports bar area during football games “in recent weeks, that crowd has gone from double digits to fewer than 10. Windows said there are more TVs than people now. ” “Last Sunday, Windows arrived at the Legion around 12:30 p.m., a half-hour before games started, and the only people in the place were two bartenders, a cook and the janitor. By kickoff, only two people had shown up to watch the games.”

  • Sunny

    As someone that is delighted that the racist, anti American NFL is sliding into its grave, I hope the protests increase. It will make the demise of the NFL even quicker.

  • delder

    Sure. Nice try. How about that the anthem protests are working. That’s why I havent and will never care or watch NFL patty cake ball again. The NFL and MSM networks just couldn’t wait to shove Michael Sam and the anthem protesters in our faces and thought we would just take it? Love having free Sundays