After an entire season spent battling anthem protests, collapsing ratings, and other political controversy; on the final scheduled primetime game of the year, the NFL has decided to say: No Mas.
The NFL has decided to cancel the Week 17 edition of Sunday Night Football. The league announced on Twitter:
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) December 25, 2017
While the league says that their decision to cancel the game is based on being “fair” to the fans. By ensuring that all games with playoff implications are played at the same time. There are other, more substantive reasons for the NFL to reschedule.
As CNN reports, the last time the NFL held a SNF game on New Year’s Eve, it did not go well.
“The last time the NFL held a Sunday night football game on New Year’s Eve was in 2006, when the Chicago Bears hosted the Green Bay Packers. It was quarterback Brett Favre’s last game with the Packers (and widely expected to be his last game ever). Still, only 13.4 million people watched that game, about a quarter fewer than the average Sunday Night Football game that season.”
Not only did that game tank in what was thought to be Brett Favre’s final appearance, that was back when the NFL’s ratings were good. Imagine how badly a New Year’s Eve SNF game would do in 2017, with no Brett Favre and terrible ratings?
To put in perspective how bad the ratings have been for NBC’s SNF, the Christmas Eve edition of SNF, tied a 6-year low in the ratings. The week before that, saw a 35% percent ratings drop from the previous year.
With that kind of “momentum,” it’s easy to understand why NBC would want to save itself from what would have been a massive ratings embarrassment.