My Take On… #215: What’s The Real Reasons Why NFL Ratings Are Down?

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So, we’re now coming to the end of the 2016 NFL season and what has been the continuing storyline of the year? Ratings are down, really down from where they were a year ago.

Now what have been the reasons why ratings are down? Many people have been saying a number of problems ranging from the controversy over the national anthem protest, the concerns over the concussion protocols, the presidential election, competition from other things, a number of people are throwing in the reasons for the decrease of NFL ratings but you know what, there’s more simple reasons why the NFL ratings are down and I’m here to tell you what they are.

Here’s what I believe to be the real reasons why NFL ratings are down:

1. Too many pointless controversies

While the Colin Kaepernick protests got a lot of attention early on in the year. After that, the NFL saw the buzz and controversy that came from that and decided to try to create more controversy in some of the most pointless of ways. The whole thing with Antonio Brown’s cleats, that was stupid, let the dude wear whatever shoes he wants to, nobody watches the game because of what shoes these guys wear, this isn’t the friggin’ Oscars preshow. Also, apparently AB is getting a lot of flack this year as we’ll delve more into that later on.

Hell, just yesterday, of all the things that happened in week 13, Cowboys nabbed the first playoff spot of the year, Tom Brady got his 201st win surpassing Peyton Manning as the winningest quarterback in NFL history, Eric Berry of the Chiefs winning the game against the Falcons with a 2 point interception at the tail end, what was the biggest story of the entire weekend?

Cam Newton didn’t play the first series of the Panthers Seahawks game…because he didn’t wear a tie on his way into the stadium……this is how low it has gotten folks. Where everybody in the sports world doesn’t care about how a player plays in a game but what clothes he’s wearing. This is something that should not be a big deal at all but because it’s Cam Newton, the reigning NFL MVP, and we are apparently so stuck on the tiniest little things that Cam Newton not wearing a tie on his way to the studio was more important of a story to cover than anything else in week 13…that is friggin’ pathetic.

The NFL really needs to get their heads out of their asses and cut it out with these stupid controversies.

2. Too much predictability

We’ve gotten way too many games this year that you can easily predict the outcome of, there are very rarely any upsets that are genuine upsets. When a 2-9 Chicago Bears team is playing against a 1-10 San Francisco 49ers team with a 49ers team that has yet to win a game since week 1, it’s pretty obvious who’s gonna win. Same can be said for the Cleveland Browns, they are literally gonna end this year 0-16 and join the 2008 Detroit Lions as the worst teams in NFL history and it’s hard to believe that would be the Browns lowest point as a franchise considering what they have been through since they resurrected the team in 1999.

Too many games with predictable outcomes in the NFL.

3. New England Patriots

Speaking of predictability, another reason why NFL ratings are probably down is because we’re sick and tired of the New England Patriots because they can never be stopped. The big story of the early part of the season should have been how Tom Brady’s suspension for four games dinged the Patriots. What friggin’ happened? They still won 3 of their 4 games and they’re on their way to another over 10 win season….AGAIN….FOR THE 15TH YEAR IN A ROW….I mean, for the love of god, come on. At least the 49ers, Cowboys, Broncos, & Steelers in their prime had bad seasons in the middle of their dynasty runs but the Patriots have been perfect for way too long and most people are getting sick and tired of it.

When the Patriots first won Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002, it was well deserved, they beat a really good St. Louis Rams team that won the Super Bowl two years prior and were the heavy favorites to win and the Patriots were the underdog team that came in with the big win and that continued into their wins in 2004 and 2005 but then, they just became too good of a team when they went 16-0 in 2007 and they just felt like they could get away with anything they wanted to and they’d still win. This is a team that came out of TWO controversies unscathed, what other franchise comes out of two big controversies without getting punishment, none. But the Patriots somehow get off scott free.

Yes, the Patriots is a good football team but there has to be that point when enough is enough and it’s time to let somebody else come in and take the mantle. And hey, Oakland Raiders currently are the #1 team in the AFC right now and the Cowboys are on an 11 game winning streak so, maybe the time is finally coming for a change of the guard.

4. More ways to watch football

When Thursday Night Football announced that they were going to be streaming on Twitter live as well as getting a simulcast broadcast on NFL Network along with NBC & CBS, that should’ve been a sign that ratings were going to be down because you now have different ways to watch the games now…and yet, people are shocked that Thursday Night Football ratings are down? You can’t tell me that the NFL saw this partnership with Twitter and didn’t have the thought that TV ratings were going to go down, if they didn’t, then it’s their own fault because they would’ve made it clear that the only reason why they did that partnership was because everybody else was doing it and that’s pretty WEAK!!!!!

5. Officiating

The officiating in the most recent games have been getting ridiculously stupid, too many penalties that are getting called for things that barely happened or didn’t even happen period. The biggest example, the Bills-Seahawks game, the Seahawks should’ve gotten a Roughing The Kicker penalty when Buffalo kicker Dan Carpenter gets roughed by Richard Sherman at end of first half only to get a 5 yard offsides penalty and kicker must sit for one play. What kind of bullshit is that?

Dude literally gets hit by Sherman and they only get a 5 yard offsides penalty? Really?

This has been a problem with the National Football League for years but this year, the BS calling on some plays this season has been ridiculous.

6. Taking the fun out of the football game

Case in point, why the hell is excessive celebration a penalty? No, really, why? What is so bad about celebrating the fact that you got a touchdown or you picked somebody off or you blocked a punt or a kick? Why the hell are we making excessive celebrations penalties when serious things like that Dan Carpenter hit get off with the minimalist of penalties possible? And once again, who’s been taking the brunt of those excessive celebration penalties, Antonio Brown, the man clearly is trying to have fun in this game and when he gets into the endzone and score a touchdown, let the dude celebrate that. Hell, let them all celebrate the fact they just scored. Half the people that play on each football team barely get to even score a touchdown in the first place so when you get your first one, quit flagging them because heaven forbid, they celebrate a big play that goes into their favor.

It’s gotten so low, they are penalizing these players that aren’t even on the goddamn field, it’s pathetic. Why are they doing this? Because the NFL wants to take as much money as they can from these players for the stupidest of reasons, that’s really what it all comes down to. Moves like this take away from the fun of a football game and there has been no legitimate reason for why excessive celebration is a penalty, it’s a joke and it needs to die as a penalty.

7. Half of the teams aren’t even trying anymore

When you watch some of the most recent games, you start to notice that teams all of a sudden just stop trying when the other team is up by multiple touchdowns and for no reason at all. Just because one team is up by multiple touchdowns in the second quarter that doesn’t mean the damn game is over, there is still 30 minutes of the game left, don’t just give up after one half like that. Two teams that I’ve noticed that a lot with this year are the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers, remember when the Rams did everything they could to get the #1 draft choice in 2016 to get Jared Goff as the potential new franchise quarterback for their team? Guess how long it took them to finally put him into the game as the starter…11 games, 11 friggin’ games before Jeff Fisher finally said to Jared Goff, you’re in. I mean, really, why would you keep Fisher around when it’s clear that he has no real care for this team that actually started off strong with 3 wins out of 4 in the first half of the year.

The 49ers made a big deal when they benched Blaine Gabbert for Colin Kaepernick nearly 5 games into the season and yet nothing has changed and by week 12, it was back to Gabbert again, nothing has changed their either.

I mean, act like you at least still intend to win a game in the future instead of just giving up halfway through. Even the Cleveland Browns are trying when they play, they still lose but at least they are trying, when I can say that about the Browns and not the 49ers or the Rams, there’s a HUGE problem here.

8. Too much competition from other things

The fall of 2016 had so many big things going on in the world of television that the NFL just seemed like an afterthought, the two biggest things were the Presidential Election and the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series in 108 years. For many, that’s where their TV attention spans were at. Not to mention the return of great network television again, as we talked about earlier this year.

There is obviously too much stuff going on this fall that made the NFL seem not as important as you would think it would, at least for the first few months of the season.

and finally, the biggest reason I believe NFL ratings are down…

Too Many Blowouts

My god, I am so sick and tired of half of the games each week being nothing but blowouts with scores like 38-16, 0-28, 29-14, 3-28, 9-27, 41-10, 14-43, 28-7, 7-40, 0-27, 7-22, 10-26, I mean, come on, and those were all from primetime games this year. PRIMETIME…a time when you have two really good teams going up against each other in close matchups, we don’t watch football to watch other teams get blown out every single week, we watch these games so we can see two really solid teams go at it in close battles.

Here are the ratings for the seasons so far, these are the top 10 rated NFL games of the year. See if you can guess how many blowouts there were in this list:

1 November 24, 4:30 ET Washington Redskins 26 Dallas Cowboys 31 Fox 35.1 14.5 Thanksgiving Cowboys–Redskins Rivalry
2 November 13, 4:25 ET Dallas Cowboys 35 Pittsburgh Steelers 30 28.9 16.4 Late DH Cowboys-Steelers Rivalry
3 October 16, 4:25 ET Dallas Cowboys 30 Green Bay Packers 16 28.0 15.8 Late DH
4 November 24, 12:30 ET Minnesota Vikings 13 Detroit Lions 16 CBS 27.6 13.0 Thanksgiving Lions–Vikings Rivalry
5 September 11, 4:25 ET New York Giants 20 Dallas Cowboys 19 Fox 27.5 15.5 Late DH Cowboys–Giants Rivalry
6 September 8, 8:30 ET Carolina Panthers 20 Denver Broncos 21 NBC 25.2 14.6 Kickoff Game Super Bowl 50 Rematch
7 November 27, 4:25 ET Carolina Panthers 32 Oakland Raiders 35 CBS 23.5 13.2 Late DH
8 September 11, 8:30 ET New England Patriots 23 Arizona Cardinals 21 NBC 23.1 13.1 SNF
9 September 18, 8:30 ET Green Bay Packers 14 Minnesota Vikings 17 22.8 12.7 SNF Packers–Vikings Rivalry
10 October 30, 4:25 ET Green Bay Packers 32 Atlanta Falcons 33 Fox 22.7 13.1 Late DH
10 October 2, 4:25 ET Dallas Cowboys 24 San Francisco 49ers 17 22.7 13.1 Late DH 49ers–Cowboys Rivalry

None…not a single blowout on that list (well, okay, Dallas-Green Bay was kind of a blowout but at least it wasn’t an over 30 to lower than 10 point game.

To me this is the biggest reason why NFL ratings are down because there’s nothing fun about watching constant blowouts by other teams because if a game is literally one team scoring 30 points over another’s 10, it’s pretty obvious who’s winning the game and we don’t need to watch anymore. The lone exception of this just happened on Sunday with the Bills-Raiders game, the Bills were leading 24 to 9 at the half and at that point, it felt like it was over but then Oakland came back and scored 29 unanswered points to win 38 to 24. We don’t get games like that anymore unfortunately and that’s why the ratings are stumbling.

The downside is that you really can’t change that particular aspect, you can’t just force teams to make games closer, you can only practice and get ready for a game that should be much harder and more difficult to win, those are the moments when the NFL strives but with ratings down this year, maybe it’s time for the NFL to seriously look at some of the most recent changes that they have made and think about fixing the problems they’ve had so the game that literally owns a day of the week can live on forever and ever.

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2 comments on “My Take On… #215: What’s The Real Reasons Why NFL Ratings Are Down?
  1. […] Dak Prescott & Ezekiel Elliott — Yeah, athletes are making the breakout list this year. Let’s just look over Sunday’s loss to the Giants, there’s no denying that both quarterback Prescott and running back Elliott have done wonders not only rejuvenating the Dallas Cowboys as a football team taking them to 11 straight wins, a franchise record for them, but also boosting the NFL in a year where ratings have been down. […]

  2. […] the NFL, despite its’ consistent problems that we’ve talked about in the past, has seen the return of some of the most historic franchises returning to prominence, the Oakland […]

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