While the anthem protest scandal may have faded from the headlines, the ratings decline that the NFL suffered during peak hysteria has yet to recover. The NFL regular season was plagued with dismal numbers, and heading into the playoffs, there’s no question executives were praying for a return to normal.
However, their prays have fallen on deaf ears, as across the board, the NFL’s playoff ratings are down significantly.
As reported at Breitbart, America’s most popular sport has entered its most crucial phase, yet fans are tuning out in record numbers. Last week’s Wild Card round saw a steep 13 percent drop from last years ratings, which made this week’s divisional games even more important for the league.
But the boost they hoped for didn’t come. The Sunday evening game’s ratings held steady compared to last years, but the afternoon game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars had the lowest viewership for that time in 15 years.
Furthermore, according to Pro Football Talk, the Saturday games drew small crowds as well.
“For the Saturday games, the 17.4 rating coming from Falcons-Eagles was down from last year’s 18.3 from the Seahawks-Falcons contest; that’s the lowest since Ravens-Titans in that same spot drew a 17.0 in early 2009. The 16.6 overnight for the Titans-Patriots game on Saturday night was the lowest since Cardinals-Panthers in early 2009.”
While some of the matchups weren’t that intriguing, all but the Pats-Titans game turned out to be hotly contested battles.
As for next week’s games, there’s no question that the league isn’t happy with the Steelers loss to the Jaguars, as the former would have provided a far more interesting matchup with the Patriots, rather than the surprising and unpopular Jaguars.
The AFC Championship game will be the one to watch when it comes to ratings, as many fans are tired of watching the Patriots continued success.
Regardless of how the rest of the post-season shakes out, it’s become evident that the NFL’s viewership collapse isn’t just a phase. It’s turned into a trend that shows no signs of turning course. The league’s got a lot of soul-searching to do this off-season if it wants to put a stop to its rapid decline.