Sep 6, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) falls to the ground as he is pressured by Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) and defensive end Chris Long (56) in the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

In what had to be a disappointing night for both NBC and the NFL, the Falcons and Eagles played a fairly ugly game after a lengthy weather delay. That’s not how the league wanted to kick off the regular season, and while it got sort of exciting at the end, the overall recipe was a bad one for ratings.

That was confirmed today, as the overnights came in lower than any season-opening game since 2008.

Via Sports Media Watch:

The Falcons-Eagles NFL Kickoff Game earned a 13.4 overnight rating on NBC, down 8% from Chiefs-Patriots last year (14.6), down 19% from Panthers-Broncos in 2016 (16.5) and the lowest for the season opener in ten years.

The 2008 Giants-Washington Kickoff Game, which moved up to 7 PM ET to accommodate the late John McCain‘s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, had a 10.1. Not counting the 2002 game on ESPN, overnights for which were unavailable, this year’s 13.4 overnight is the fifth-lowest in the history of the game (16 telecasts).

The first half in particular was a bad display of football, with the Eagles being booed off the field at home in their first regular season game since winning the Super Bowl.

But it’s still an ugly year-over-year trend for the NFL, even with the weather factored in.

It’s tough to spin it in a good way for the NFL, but here are two relative positives. For one, compared to other sports, even on a very bad night the NFL remains the top ratings draw:

And for another, the NFL still captured a pretty big slice of the overall ratings available last night:

But that’s some straw grasping, and the NFL doesn’t exactly deserve the benefit of aggressive spin. It’ll be fascinating to see how the ratings shake out this weekend, and it’s certainly something to monitor throughout the year.

[Sports Media Watch]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.