We all know that the NFL ratings have dropped substantially this year and all the focus has been on the anthem protests, whether or not people agree with it is beside the point. But it’s not that easy and the drop in ratings, which is projected to cost the four major networks; CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN, a total of $500 Million, has other factors weighing in on the drops.
First of all, the product on the field does not in any way match up to what it once was.
For the first time in a long time the NFL is producing a league that holds less stars than ever. Yes, you have Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and players of that caliber, but if you ask anyone not from Boston or Green Bay who their favorite NFL player is, past or present, they might choose a player from the former.
Most average fans pick a favorite player over the course of a couple years where that player is reigning their position or division. Right now, besides the aforementioned Brady and Rodgers, there’s not many players doing that.
The superstar status is attached to few players. Why? Because the level of quarterback play in the NFL currently is maybe the lowest it’s ever been. And wide-receivers need quarterbacks, or else they’re just glorified outside run blockers.
Out of the 32 starting quarterbacks, 35 if you include all of the Browns starters, only three or four can claim superstar status: Brady, Rodgers, Drew Brees and maybe Cam Newton. These players are must watch television, most teams don’t have those players.
New York has/had Odell Beckham Jr., but the team stinks, so I’m not cringing through a Giants game to possibly see a one-handed catch in a 38-10 football game.
Cincinnati has AJ Green, but Andy Dalton, who is the most mediocre quarterback to ever step foot on a football field, doesn’t look his way, so place the Bengals under the ‘nope’ column.
Overall the quarterback play is horrendous for a lot more teams than not.
If someone can convince me that an Andy Dalton-Brock Osweiler matchup or a Joe Flacco-Brett Hundley meeting is watchable, I’m all ears. Otherwise, my point is proven.
So, the number of stars and serviceable quarterbacks being at an almost all-time low might not be the best thing for ratings.
Next, a huge reason why NFL ratings are dropping, is because they spread themselves too thin with these stupid London and Thursday Night Football game.
No one wants to wake up at nine o’clock in the morning, or six o’clock on the west coast, to watch their team play football in another country. We all understand that the NFL is trying to expand its viewership to London, but unless your team plays, you’re not watching. If your team does play, and you actually decide to wake up for kegs and eggs, you’re probably not watching the rest of the day’s games, which hurts ratings.
The second item on my ‘hate list’ is Thursday Night Football. For one, it interferes with a lot of people’s show watching considering most primetime shows are on at eight on Thursday nights.
Also with having two teams on Thursday Night Football every week, it has the same effect as the London games, if my team plays on Thursday night, I’m more inclined to make my Sunday a productive one instead of picking up a 12-pack and smashing on whatever food I can grab my hands on.
The biggest problem I have as well as most football fans with Thursday Night Football is that the games just stink.
Yes, seven out of the eleven weeks the margin of victory was under a touchdown, but let’s look at those games.
The second game of the year was Houston and Cincinnati, no thanks. The week after that was the Rams and Niners. Los Angeles is a power now, but in Week 3, I’m not digging through the cushions to try to find the remote to turn it on.
The rest of the games? Jets-Bills, Ravens-Dolphins, Patriots-Buccaneers and a bunch of games with one or two notable players and that’s it. Never mind in almost every other game this year the NFL gets a major injury to report on from a TNF game.
Once again, the problem can be traced back to bad football. Even if the outcome is good, Jets-Bills isn’t appealing to me.
You can’t deny the protests though. Whether you’re for or against the protests, it’s taken a hit on the league’s ratings.
Some people don’t watch because their team is disrespecting the flag, others aren’t watching because the NFL is blackballing Colin Kaepernick. Either way, they’re not watching.
The last reason why ratings might be done can go directly to millennials.
No, millennials don’t hate football. We love it. We just hate cable and paying for it. So instead of paying for cable, we’re going to go to the bar instead.
30% of millennials, according to mediapost.com, have cut the cord with cable companies, opting for Netflix, Hulu or other streaming options.
Does that mean we’re not watching? Well if I don’t feel like spending money at the bar Sunday, then yes, I’m not watching that particular Sunday.
All of these are factors and all these reasons are serious concerns for the NFL who still has yet to figure out a way to handle their domestic violence problem.
So ratings, domestic violence and now feuds with Jerry Jones. Roger Goodell has a lot on his plate and he’s going to have to figure it out quick if he wants to still be around when it does get fixed.
About The Contributor
Zach Harley is a freelance writer from Parma, Ohio. I love sports, music and comedy but Cleveland sports, Bruce Springsteen and Eminem trump all. (Probably should use a different word for trump.) Being in Downtown Cleveland for Game 7 of the 2016 Finals is one of my crowning achievements. Go Flashes. Go Browns. Go Tribe. … LeBron James is my lord and savior. Amen.