(the video above has some football parallels and the song is titled “Popular” but tbh I just really liked the song and wanted to post it at the top…lol)
AbsoluteChaos and I were having a conversation about the declining ratings of this year’s NFL games the other day.
I was asked, “What do you attribute the falling TV ratings to?” I gave a few responses to the question but after the conversation ended, I thought about the topic a little more and wanted to expand on that here.
As with most things in life, it’s never ONE thing…pause, no Amerie…that causes any other thing to happen. And the NFL’s ratings hitting the skids is no exception. Here are seven thoughts that came to mind as to why that’s the case.
1. TOO MUCH FOOTBALL
The NFL decided to ramp up the amount of Thursday night games for profit, mostly. We know this. They said it’s for us, the fans…But it’s just more revenue coming in for them. TV, Internet streams, ads…whoever’s paying, they’re definitely depositing.
But the problem with all this extra football is that the teams competing on Thursdays are getting 2-3 days of practice to implement a gameplan for an opponent that normally takes 5-6 days. That leaves us, the fans, with a less than stellar product more often than not every Thursday.
Imagine cooking a Thanksgiving turkey, knowing it took 5-6 hours to bake, but the NFL wanted it in and out the oven in 2-3 hours. We both know the end result would not be pleasant to the palate nor the intestinal tracts. Same thing goes for football.
2. THE KAEPERNICK SITUATION
There’s a section of people out there who see the small protests during the national anthem as a big enough reason to stop watching the product on the field.
It’s a thing that can’t really be denied. I may not agree with it but people have made that decision.
3. A LACK OF STAR POWER
Who is the face of the NFL right now?
Cam Newton? Last year proved that to not be the case, even with an MVP season
Tom Brady? Let me deflate that thought for you right now.
Andrew Luck? Loses too much and hasn’t been on the field enough to create enough memorable moments.
Eli Manning? Dunkin Donut sandwiches ain’t turning profit when you haven’t been to the SB in a while…
Von Miller? All those dance moves and fashionable threads aren’t connecting.
Drew Brees? Wrangler’s don’t sell like they used to when you don’t win.
Tony Romo? He can sell DirectTV ads but his body’s made out of light bulb glass.
When the most popular face in the NFL is a retired QB slinging Papa John’s pizzas and chicken parm sandwiches for Nationwide…you’ve got a problem.
The vets we loved watching like Brett Favre, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders, Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward, Terrell Owens…the list goes on…those larger than life players, those larger than life personalities…they are a thing of the past. I’m not saying there aren’t talented players in this league but an Antonio Brown, an Odell Beckham Jr. and a Todd Gurley just don’t elicit the same response from the general fan as the greats once did.
4. A LACK OF CLEAR CUT TEAM DOMINANCE
Franchises that were synonymous with winning are struggling to stay on top.
America’s Team has been 8-8 for a while now. San Fran is a franchise that’s circling the drain right now. The NY franchises aren’t showing any maintained dominance recently. Miami’s been trash for a while. Green Bay’s underachieved. Minnesota keeps stumbling near the finish line. New England can’t make it back to the promised land.
No one’s embracing the upwards trajectory of teams like Arizona, Seattle, Houston, Carolina and Baltimore. The markets are too small and the allure of the stars for those teams is limited.
5 LACK OF EXCITING HIGHLIGHTS
Limited attention spans need stimuli and there hasn’t been a lot out there to keep the stimulation consistent.
Who remembers anything of consequence after Odell Beckham’s one handed catch?
6. THURSDAY and MONDAY NIGHT GOT REALLY BAD MATCHUPS
Sometimes it’s just that the games suck.
San Fran v LA from Week 1. Buffalo v the NY Jets, Week 2. Chicago vs Philadelphia, Week 2. Houston v New England (starting a 3rd string QB) Week 3, Dallas vs Chicago Week 3, Miami vs Cincinnati Week 4, Kansas City v Pittsburgh Week 4…?
I understand how important it is for some of these networks to broadcast the NFL games but the matchups on Thursday and Monday have been pretty terrible for years now. Sometimes it’s just due to unfortunate injury robbing certain juicy matchups of its excitement but was Chicago vs Philly this season really going to turn heads with Jay Cutler and Sam Bradford at the helm? Case Keenum vs Blaine Gabbert?
and lastly 7. A MAJOR DIP IN FUNDAMENTAL TALENT LEADS TO A SLOPPIER PRODUCT
The NFL is full of athletes now. Freaks of nature who can do 30 reps of 225lbs, run 4.5 40 yard dashes and leap 37″ into the air. Everybody LOOKS the part when they’re on stage at the draft, in shorts and shells at minicamp and even during practice.
But there’s a lot of people out there who can’t play professional football as it’s currently played. Missed blocks, failure to pick up blitzes, a lack of awareness when a ball’s in the air. Tons of penalties. Always trying to hit a 90 yard bomb when a first down is all that’s necessary.
The talent of these inbound college kids is too alluring for owners to pass up so they draft them, pay them peanuts and then when the lights come on, they can’t do it.
I expect that there are plenty of other things I may have missed but these SEVEN felt like the biggest ones.
Feel free to add your two cents in the comments below or in the league message board.