Viewership, and the Cowboys, Crash on Monday Night Football

Ronald Martinez_Getty Images
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

If the executives at ESPN thought that having the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football would help their viewership, they were very mistaken.

Monday night’s matchup between the Cardinals and the Cowboys earned 11.32 million viewers. While that figure represents a slight uptick from last week’s edition of MNF, it also represents a 15% decline from last year. A game featuring the Dallas Cowboys – even a bad Cowboys team without their starting quarterback – normally means throngs of viewers will flock to their televisions.

That clearly did not take place on Monday night.

More troubling, is that the low viewership marks the third week in a row of negative numbers since the blockbuster viewership ESPN earned three weeks ago when Kansas City took on Baltimore. Even more concerning is that not only do the Cowboys no longer equal massive numbers of viewers, but the numbers are still low despite efforts from the networks to mute the social justice protests that are still occurring.

Those factors would suggest a decline in the level of interest in the league in general. A decline that appears to disappear only when there’s a blockbuster matchup featuring two of the league’s most dynamic stars, such as Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes.

All these things could change, but it appears as though the NFL’s days of being able to roll out mediocre matchups and win huge ratings, are over.


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