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.
- Rebellion against athlete protests, beginning with Colin Kaepernick last fall
- Rebellion against the league’s reaction to those protests, including Kaepernick’s ongoing unemployment
- Too much politics in general
- Competition from last year’s presidential election
- Interest in Donald Trump’s presidency
- Over-saturation, with games in too many time-slots
- Too many commercials
- Quality of play
- Lack of stars
- Specifically, lack of star quarterbacks
- Uninteresting matchups
- Too much violence
- Not enough violence
- Concern over head injuries
- Domestic violence arrests
- Roger Goodell
- The 2016 Chicago Cubs
- Limits on daily fantasy sports
- Too much fantasy sports
- Bad officiating
- Too many penalty flags
- Too much passing, not enough running
- Too many player celebrations
- Not enough player celebrations
- Failure to embrace black culture
- Inferiority to the NBA
- Increase in viewing options
- Rise of digital streaming
- The RedZone channel
- Fans’ attention spans
So there you have it. The NFL’s decline in ratings is about whatever the hell you want it to be about.