BRIDGEWATER, NJ — The NFL TV ratings have been down most of this season, though they did improve this week thanks to a pair of very exciting, rivalry games: Seattle at New England and Dallas at Pittsburgh.
But it remains to be seen if that trend continues.
So why have NFL ratings been down most of this season? Breitbart Sports caught up with New York Jets receiver Eric Decker at the opening of a SuperDry clothing store at Bridgewater Commons in New Jersey and asked him for his take on the ratings issue.
“[Maybe] it’s primetime games if they aren’t as exciting or it’s with the election year happening and so many other things going on TV-wise,” Decker told Breitbart Sports. “Also there honestly have been some discussions around the league about concussion issues. Or the players aren’t satisfied with certain things I guess throughout the league. Those things can be a factor, but I can’t really pinpoint what it would be.”
“Players aren’t satisfied with certain things I guess throughout the league” sounds like a diplomatic way to reference the national anthem protests lead by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, which turns off a lot of fans.
The reason for the ratings decline is like a bouillabaisse: there are a lot of ingredients.
The length of games, which often drag over three hours, could play a role.
“Could [NFL games] be shorter? Could they be better? Are replays too long?” asked NFL broadcasting executive Brian Rolapp at a National Association of Broadcasters conference last week. “We are constantly look at those things to make the pace of the games more interesting.”
“We want to take as much what we call dead time, non-action out of the game, so that we can make the game more exciting,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last week at a New York Times conference.
One way to make games move faster would be cutting back on profligate penalty calls, which constantly interrupt the flow of the action. In a recent win over Tampa Bay, Oakland received 23 penalties, an NFL record.
With myriad rules to make the NFL a pass-friendly league, there’s been a proliferation of pass interference calls in recent years. These days, it seems like if a defensive back blows on a receiver, he gets flagged.
Perhaps it’s time to cut the NFL’s pass defenders some slack and stop flagging in cases of minor contact.
Decker has played receiver in the NFL for seven years, so he has a unique perspective on pass interference calls.
“From a rule standpoint, I think the NFL has wanted to see more exciting games,” Decker told Breitbart. “It tailors to the offense, [so] more defensive pass interference calls, more holding calls. If you want to alleviate these problems, just play football. Let it be a more physical game. Let things go more in that sense.”