Last year was not an aberration when it comes to TV ratings for the NFL, it seems. Sunday Night Football between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants was the only slot in which viewership rose compared to last year; every other slot was down double digits. Overall, week 1 ratings, excluding Monday Night Football, fell 13% from 2016. Put simply, the NFL is losing popularity. Why is a sport that is so popular losing ratings at such an alarming rate?
This is the reason that most people cite when discussing plummeting ratings, but I do not think it is the main reason. The Kaepernick controversy is having an effect on the NFL’s popularity, though the main reason is that people who support Kaepernick are turned off by the NFL because they think he isn’t playing because of his protest. That’s not the killer for the NFL however: The killer is the other half of the population, who are pissed because players protest. So in all actuality, the NFL can’t win no matter what it does on this topic.
Most new stadiums have at least some public funding and a lot of people are sick of billionaire owners getting corporate welfare. These men can afford to build their own stadiums, but they won’t and cities continue to give into the owner’s demands. 17 owners are worth more than $1 billion, including Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who screwed the city of St. Louis over, leaving taxpayers to pony up for the “old” stadium until 2022 to move the team to Los Angeles. Kroenke is worth, according to Forbes, $7.7 billion.
Jerry Jones is worth $5.5 billion but still got the city of Dallas to pay for half of his team’s stadium. I think people are really tired of billionaire owners taking advantage of them.
This has been on the decline for the past few years, and now much of the decline can be traced to the NFL looking concerned about player safety. We all know from the way the league still treats retired players, this is simply not true. The NFL, just like a presidential candidate, polls everything, and if fans demand it, the NFL will look like it’s trying to do something.
I think a lot of the problems stem from a lack of contact in practices, especially in training camp. And while I agree it should be limited, some live practices are necessary. A lot of teams in week one simply looked unprepared.
If I am spending $100 on a ticket for a regular season game, why should I have to pay the same amount to see a pre-season game? It is absolutely ridiculous that the NFL forces season ticket holders to pay full price to watch what is basically a practice.
The NFL holds all the cards against players and they aren’t afraid to use them. Roger Goodell suspends players whenever he feels like it. Look at Ezekiel Elliott, Elliott was cleared of any wrongdoing in a domestic abuse case and yet Roger Goodell does his own investigation, and even after his lead investigator suggests no penalty, Goodell still suspends him for six games! He suspended Tom Brady for deflate gate with zero proof and this list can go on and on.
The proliferation of commercials has seemed to get increasingly worse in the last year or two and can really kill the flow of the game. Once again, this is how we know the NFL cares more about the almighty dollar than they do the fans.
The NFL controls the stories about players that are run and if you are a media darling like a Ray Lewis or a Peyton Manning, you can literally do nothing wrong. Whether you agree with Colin Kaepernick or not, there is no way he’s unemployed because he is a bad QB! His stats last year were 16 TD passes against four Interceptions with a 90 passer rating on a bad team.
When Vontaze Burfict was suspended for a questionable hit in the preseason, he is portrayed as an out of control thug. The truth with Burfict is he had one personal foul penalty all year last year and has never been in trouble off the field while playing for the Bengals.
The movie Concussion really brought this issue to the forefront a few years back and though football may be made slightly safer, it will never be made safe. The big problem here, to me, is the lack of concern for players by owners until the movie brought the discussion in the public’s conscience. Until that time, owners and the league office denied any correlation between playing football and CTE. We know now they were just trying to cover their own asses.
I think for a lot of people they don’t see players as real people, they see them more as superheroes. But, for people that see the players as living breathing people like me and you, it makes football harder to watch.
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