While football is still the most popular sport in the United States, ratings have fallen off tremendously throughout the season.
Right now, NFL ratings are the lowest they have been since 2011.
There are many apparent factors as to why the ratings have fallen, but some football fans think that some factors are more impactive than others.
This year’s presidential election will go down as one of the most important events in American history, and some debates trashed primetime football games in the ratings. On Oct. 9, the Green Bay Packers played host to the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football, which is notorious for broadcasting the NFL’s most important game of the week. That same night, now president-elect Donald Trump and then-democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had their second debate of the election season. The election drew an astounding 37.2 rating, while the Giants-Packers game drew just a 10.2, which was Sunday Night Football’s lowest rating in three years.
“I am lucky enough to have picture-in-picture, so I was able to watch both,” said Ramapo senior Brandon Kurtzman. “But the debate was the bigger screen. I love the Giants, but the debate was a much bigger deal.”
Another potential reason why ratings are down is simply because of the amount of access people have to games. Not only are people able to watch a live video feed of the games on Twitter, but also realtime smartphone apps and the NFL RedZone channel give football fans an opportunity to tune into every game at once, rather than tuning into a single game, bringing down ratings.
“If I’m not watching the Giants, I’ll either throw the Jet game on or put on RedZone and have my laptop in front of me for fantasy,” said Kurtzman. “And it’s more likely than not RedZone is on, because the Jets are terrible.”
However, the most debatable argument on why the NFL’s ratings are down is because people feel the league, most notably commissioner Roger Goodell, is corrupt and does not treat the players or teams fairly.
Earlier this year, it was announced that teams would be fined for posting videos of game highlights on social media. Players have also been fined for wearing commemorative equipment; Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown was fined for wearing cleats in memory of Arnold Palmer, while teammate DeAngelo Williams was once fined for honoring his late mother, who passed away while battling breast cancer. The NFL lets players wear pink in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but not for the rest of the year.
Many fans feel that Goodell cares more about players not having fun over the players who have committed crimes in the league.
The NFL’s acronym has becoming widely known as the “No Fun League” instead of its real title, because players are showing “excessive celebration” after a score, or, like Brown, they are honoring the fallen.
Fans are also upset that Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for four games for the DeflateGate scandal, while former Giants kicker Josh Brown was suspended for just one game for violating the league’s conduct policy in regards to a domestic violence issue with his ex-wife.
“The guy suspends a known wife beater one game, but Tom Brady may or may not have taken hardly any air out of a football in a game that they won by 30-something points, and he’s out for a quarter of the year? I can’t support that,” said senior George Hunkele. “Not that I’m supporting either Brown or Brady – you don’t hit a woman, and you don’t cheat the game, but what’s worse?”
The NFL has been tied around a lot of controversy over the last several years, but no one knows for sure the real reason why ratings are down. All fans know is that something is wrong, and it may not necessarily be because of the product on the field.