Remember when the end of the election season would herald an explosion in NFL regular season ratings, culminating in a fantastic finish as a playoff season packed with all the most popular teams delivered earth-shattering Nielsen numbers?
Except that didn’t happen. In fact, the precise opposite happened.
The Nielsen numbers for the NFL postseason are in, and the ratings fell from last year in eight of the league’s ten postseason games. Including the AFC Championship game, a shocking development considering the game featured the Steelers, the team with arguably the largest national fan base in the country, pitted against the Patriots, the team everyone either loves, or loves to hate.
Selling Tom Brady vs Ben Roethlisberger is like selling home heating systems to football Eskimos. It’s not a sale, it’s providing the deprived with a necessity. If the NFL can’t sell Tom Brady vs. Ben Roethlisberger, good luck selling Tom Brady vs. Matt Ryan.
According to The Comeback, “The Nielsen overnight ratings had the early window Falcons-Packers NFC championship game (on Fox) at a 27.4 and the late window Patriots-Steelers AFC championship game (on CBS) at a 27.6. Last year, the AFC had the early window, with Patriots-Broncos pulling a 31.8 on CBS, and the late window Panthers-Cardinals game only drew a 26.8 on Fox.
“So, regardless of if you slice it by conference or by window, that’s one slight gain and one substantial decrease. It adds up to a loss of 13.8 per cent and a gain of 2.9 per cent by window, or a loss of 13.3 per cent and a gain of 2.2 per cent by conference.”
That’s a slightly complicated, yet very understandable way of saying the NFL face-planted. True, a few teams did not have legitimate starting quarterbacks in this year’s playoffs: he Raiders lost Derek Carr, the Dolphins lost Ryan Tannehill, and the Texans…well…the Texans had Brock Osweiler.
However, if lackluster quarterback play accounted for the dip in ratings, then this weekend’s conference championship games should have more than righted the ship. This past weekend saw three guaranteed first ballot Hall Of Famers in action, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger, in addition to Matt Ryan, and yet the ratings collectively dropped.
So, now the NFL has officially run out of excuses. The election has passed so far in the rear-view mirror that we’ve actually had an inauguration. And the line that Peyton Manning’s absence led to the fall in ratings has fallen victim to the fact that nearly every elite quarterback in the league saw action in the postseason, and still the numbers tanked.
So where does the NFL go from here? They made their bed with leftists years ago, beginning in earnest with Michael Sam and continuing on through their public opposition to Indiana’s Religious Freedom laws and about a thousand points in between, finishing with their refusal to discipline Colin Kaepernick for using the platform of an NFL football game to insult our flag and the military that defends it.
Despite repeated evidence that NFL fans chose to not watch games specifically because of Kaepernick’s protest, the league, paralyzed by fear of leftist reaction, decided to let Kaepernick continue his protest, and neglected their loyal fan base.
Now, that loyal fan base has decided to teach the NFL a lesson and neglect them for a change, and there’s something not at all displeasing about that.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn