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NFL tells teams anthem protests aren’t impacting ratings

San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold (58), quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and safety Eric Reid (35) kneel during the national anthem before the team's NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) AP

Regarding the decline in people watching NFL games on TV, the league’s official approach is this: There’s nothing to see here.

In a memo distributed to the 32 franchises, top executives Brian Rolapp and Howard Katz downplay the 11-percent reduction in ratings through four weeks of the season, with an even sharper decline in prime-time windows.

“While our partners, like us, would have liked to see higher ratings, they remain confident in the NFL and unconcerned about a long-term issue,” Rolapp and Katz write, via the Wall Street Journal. The memo also boasts that pro football “continues to be far and away the most powerful programming on television and the best place for brands and advertisers.”

The memo attributes the drop in viewership to the presidential election. It also claims that the national anthem protests have not affected ratings.

“In fact, our own data shows that the perception of the NFL and its players is actually up in 2016,” the memo explains.

It’s not known what the data is, and whether it was compiled before Colin Kaepernick and others began to not stand for the anthem. Has the NFL convened focus groups regarding the impact of the anthem protests? Has the league conducted detailed polling and/or surveying of fans?

Plenty of people have been huffing and puffing about boycotting the NFL over the anthem issue. How does the league know with certainty that those folks aren’t successfully blowing the house down?

Whatever is happening, it’s important for the league to take the matter very seriously. It’s one thing to allay concerns of owners, networks, advertisers, and the media public comments and leaked memos. It’s quite another to privately react to the shrinking audience the same way Homer Simpson did when he started losing his hair, declaring “there’s plenty more when that came from” as he continued obliviously into baldness.

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167 Responses to “NFL tells teams anthem protests aren’t impacting ratings”
  1. metalman5150 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:27 PM

    Just contract jj Abrahams to make a new anthem already!!!

  2. lunar2013 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:28 PM

    They can always hire Exponent to look into the matter. From the memo they passed around, maybe they already did.

  3. sdchicken says: Oct 7, 2016 1:28 PM

    The force is weak with the dark side (goodell)

    “You will unlatch my cuffs, open the door and leave your blaster.”

    We’re not falling for that…

  4. chicagosportsfan11 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:29 PM

    No the crappy product from barely any training camp and no contact practices is affecting ratings.

  5. bucsorbust says: Oct 7, 2016 1:30 PM

    That’s funny, because I just fired off another email to the team I support in my town telling them I’m sick of seeing the protests and haven’t watched or supported the NFL other than the team I hold tickets for (Bucs). Of course, all the blogs I see where fans share the same disgust say the things I have. And people call in to local talk shows saying they not watching because of the player protests.

    Go ahead NFL, keep your head in the sand.

  6. magnumpimustache says: Oct 7, 2016 1:30 PM

    Roger Goodell does not see a problem.

    SCIENCE!!!!

  7. heymister24 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:31 PM

    The NFL provides a knee, jerk reaction.

  8. FlashPatterson says: Oct 7, 2016 1:32 PM

    The only reason this whole thing took off is that everybody hates Kapernick. People were “outraged” because it’s fun to hate that guy.

    Then the media took the whole thing seriously because they want to look good by being social injustice warriors.

    I’d bet the majority of Americans have no vested interest in the topic either way. I’m mostly annoyed by how much attention is being focused on it personally.

  9. niners816 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:32 PM

    That’s one of the reasons why people aren’t watching as much. I think a lot of the reason why people aren’t watching as much is because there’s a lot of garbage teams, including mine. There’s a handful of teams that are legit good teams, then there’s a lot of teams that are bottom feeders. Fans aren’t tuning in to that garbage. Take last night for an example, that stadium was half full. Both teams were 1-3 last night. One of the reasons is because of the anthem as well. I know a handful of people who aren’t watching football because of that. So if I know some, I’m sure there’s a lot of people who know other people who aren’t watching football because of that. Another reason is because Goodell sucks, too. Can’t forget that one.

  10. glac1 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:32 PM

    It’s not only the anthem but all the other antics. I’m sick and tired of these “drama queens” and as a result I am watching much less football then I have in the past. the league needs to stand up and take a strong stand before they lose fans forever….

  11. vinzclorth0 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:32 PM

    Kapernick is a huge turd.

    NFL: grow have some cojones and discipline this turd for spitting on the flag, wearing pig socks, and a Fidel T-shirt.

  12. Frazier28/7 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:32 PM

    could be that you have 20 really crappy teams annually and not enough good offensive lineman anymore.

  13. matt2calvin says: Oct 7, 2016 1:33 PM

    I typically spend over $3K per year on tickets and NFL merchandise. Not this year. I’ve spent $0 – specifically because of this issue.

    I only watch my home (semi-)pro team, the Lions – and haven’t watched another game all season, nor do I intend to…

    They can deny all they want – but that doesn’t make it so.

  14. joetoronto says: Oct 7, 2016 1:33 PM

    Talk to the people and you’ll see, it’s definitely making a difference.

  15. losingisnotanoption says: Oct 7, 2016 1:33 PM

    Say gibberish enough and sooner or later it’ll be considered true.

  16. philipdebin says: Oct 7, 2016 1:34 PM

    The product gets worse every year. Instant replay was the beginning of the end for the NFL. Instead of the fans holding their breath for big plays we are now forced to hold our breath for the little man under the hood. It’s slower, boring, and not football. It’s similar to how NBA games end anti-climatically with free throw contests. NFL games end with replays and reviews. Not to mention that the refs STILL make terrible calls all the time.

  17. pancaketaco says: Oct 7, 2016 1:35 PM

    Too much of a good thing…end the opening weekend double header, only play on Thursdays on Thanksgiving, and go back to playing 2 or 3 games on Saturdays the last 2 or three weeks of the season.

    Problem solved.

    A better product wouldn’t hurt…having 14 teams 1-3 or worse after a 1/4 of the season…not so good!

  18. boblavoie says: Oct 7, 2016 1:35 PM

    Ratings are about to go up – Tom Brady is back. So Roger, real good move suspending your super-star; look what happen to NFL integrity. Gone because of less than thought out decision making.

  19. prideof10000lakes says: Oct 7, 2016 1:36 PM

    The NFL is becoming the NBA and places so much power in the hands of the Refs that it really makes you wonder if the NFL has a storyline that it wants to follow. I cant even count the number of times that a 4th quarter drive has stayed alive when a team gets stopped on 3rd and Goal and then there is an anonymous “Defensive Holding” call that gives the offense a brand new set of downs.

    Not just REPLAY 3rd down, but a brand new set of downs…..

    That AND the fact that most people enjoy football to escape from political agendas/correctness but we can’t talk about that or I will be told that I’m a bigot and a racist.

    SKOL

  20. jag1959 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:36 PM

    And the band played on…

  21. bucsorbust says: Oct 7, 2016 1:36 PM

    I love the game and hold season tickets, but last night I made a tough call, unrelated to Colin K and his ilk–of course. I had to choice to watch NFL football live or watch a recorded documentary on how mutated DNA affects plant reproduction in East Asia. Of course, the DNA show was a better choice.

  22. BradyIsTheGCOAT says: Oct 7, 2016 1:36 PM

    Drove me away, but OK.

  23. wiskybuck says: Oct 7, 2016 1:37 PM

    Keep the players in the locker room till after the national anthem.

  24. bostonisthebestandyouallsukk says: Oct 7, 2016 1:39 PM

    As a pats fan, I really don’t think Brady not playing has anything to do with it. All my friends still watched.

  25. stillers213 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:39 PM

    The comments here say otherwise Roger-reality-dodger.

  26. patfanken says: Oct 7, 2016 1:39 PM

    Actually it probably ISN’T the anthem protests that are causing the decline. It’s the lousy product on the field EVERY Thursday night. It’s the lousy product on the field EVERY London game. It’s the fact that NOTHING that comes out of 354 Park Ave can be believed or is in the best interests of the game we all love.

    This isn’t just a 4 week anomaly. This is REAL slippage and the owners better start dealing with this. STOP this international BS. STOP this move to Las Vegas. Concentrate on the game and how you can make it better where it is.

    Otherwise be prepared to see a 20+% DROP in revenue. See the cap drop significantly. See the supply of football players start to drop significantly.

    The NFL desperately needs new leadership….or else.

  27. jerrytagge says: Oct 7, 2016 1:40 PM

    “Huffing and puffing” perfectly describes the #MuhSocialJusticeProtest bunch better than the fans who have left.

  28. cadreamer1969 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:40 PM

    The Sgt Schultz act isn’t fooling anyone. The TMZ sports media doesn’t help. When a player gets in trouble it’s all over the place. When someone in the media gets in trouble it’s total silence and their employer won’t comment. Some double standard. The game has been lost in commercials, replays, and the pre and post game shows. Can they have more people saying nothing of importance?

  29. mongo3401 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:41 PM

    Kneeling and sitting is yesterday’s news. Personally I could care less what a few players do or don’t do. I personally believe it’s due to the digital age and the tech savvy people. I still have the old fashioned Sunday Ricket but I do have friends with legal devices that get the games on their computer and just stream it in their TV. Every smart tv is own onnected to the internet Just my opinion.

  30. bucsorbust says: Oct 7, 2016 1:41 PM

    Uh…24 hour news cycle at election time with two awful candidates. Political sniping about thinks like immigration and health care, U.S. at war, a lousy U.S. job outlook, economy up and down with China owning it all, wife and mom are sick, infighting at work. So what do I want to see when I turn on an NFL game? I really enjoy seeing millionaires making a scene by doing things 99% of the rest of us would get fired for if we did it at work. NOT!

  31. jthompsoninc says: Oct 7, 2016 1:42 PM

    It’s no better than the old xfl or arena league anymore. No running game makes it boring. Throwing the ball around nonstop. I can watch that in the vacant lot in my neighborhood. College is so much better.

  32. shwanker81 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:42 PM

    For the first time this year I only watch 1 game a week (my team). I use to religiously plan my schedule around football – Thursdays, Sundays, & Mondays. I am what you would call a die hard football fan. But guess what? I’m done until the NFL finally decides to do something about these clowns protesting the anthem of my country. Deny all you want, “It isn’t a problem” yada yada, I find it to be a problem and a bunch of my fellow fans feel the same way. The silent majority is speaking by not watching – we aren’t activists, we are regular people – and guess what? We’ve had enough.

  33. kindbass says: Oct 7, 2016 1:42 PM

    “I quit watching football because of players protesting for 2 mins before the game”

    –someone who spends hours every day commenting on every PFT article.

  34. tajuara says: Oct 7, 2016 1:42 PM

    I disagree. I have enough with politics outside football, so I don’t want politics in football. The other thing is the constant and annoying advertising. During the Colts and Jaguars game after a three and out for the Colts there was 3 seconds left on the clock to end the quarter. You would have think that the network (CBS) was going to let the Jaguars run a play run the three seconds out and send to commercials, but no, the greedy network put some commercials (plural) then the Jaguars ran a play and then commercials again after 3 seconds. That’s annoying.

  35. randomguy9999 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:43 PM

    it may not have been the result of the ratings drop, but I’m sure these protest idiots are doing long term damage to the brand

  36. workin4theweekend says: Oct 7, 2016 1:44 PM

    All of you people who have to come here and tell us all about how you “aren’t watching any games” or “aren’t giving the NFL a dime this year!” or whatever are just sad, pathetic narcissist. No one cares what you do and don’t do, and you aren’t proving a point by doing what you are doing. Players want to protest, let ’em, they have a right to free speech because this is America after all. You don’t have to agree with them. You want to boycott the NFL, fine, that’s your prerogative, because this is America after all. But stop acting like we care, and stop coming here to crow about how indignant you while simultaneously being unaware of the irony of holding the American flag and yelling about “freedoms” in response to someone else exercising theirs.

    End Rant

  37. factschecker says: Oct 7, 2016 1:44 PM

    When Chris Jackson (aka Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf ) did this back in the 1990’s it was news for about a week then everyone got over it and life went on.

    He did get suspended for one game but they came to a compromise that allowed him to stand but stare at the ground with his eyes closed.

    It’s not a big deal unless you want it to be a big deal. To boycott nearly 1,500 American players that are standing because a handful (what maybe 30 guys?) of Americans are not standing just seems beyond unreasonable logic.

  38. bigblue431 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:44 PM

    niners816 says:
    Oct 7, 2016 1:32 PM
    I think a lot of the reason why people aren’t watching as much is because there’s a lot of garbage teams,
    ————————–

    Agreed, there area handful of perpetually dominant teams, and the rest stink (like my lowly Giants).

    Just bad football. And the NFL wants to expand playoffs- so more loosing teams can get in so that the league can make more money at the expense of game quality.

    Combine that with rules that are impossible to follow and penalties on every play.

  39. scrp2 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:45 PM

    I agree with the earlier commenter, training camps are so soft, lot of players out for the season. The players are exhausted in the 4th quarter and the losing team will aquiesce. Ridiculous clown uniforms, bad SNF matchups, fantasy football burnout, no taunting penalties, saturation in the market, head-scratching suspensions and Phil Simms.

  40. weepingjebus says: Oct 7, 2016 1:45 PM

    “11 out of 12 teams remain unaffected by the league turning the sport into a boring political spectacle.”

  41. peytonwantsaflag says: Oct 7, 2016 1:45 PM

    The presidential election?? really?

    just how many debates have there been? because I only saw 1 (well, part of one)

  42. puffnstuff5005 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:46 PM

    This reminds me of the scene in The Naked Gun. A guy crashes his “car” into a building full of fireworks. There are explosions and huge fires everywhere, and Lt. Drebin keeps saying to everyone watching, “Nothing to see here, please disperse.”

  43. wrlegrand says: Oct 7, 2016 1:47 PM

    Umm yeah I would actually say a bunch of rich guys kneeling and holding up the “black power” fist is a major contributor to the ratings decline. Nice spin job by the NFL, but no one is buying it.

  44. thraiderskin says: Oct 7, 2016 1:47 PM

    It’s ignorant to ignore its impact, but it’s a culmination of a few factors for me, to include the anthem bs.

  45. inbillwetrust says: Oct 7, 2016 1:48 PM

    I’m sure this does slightly impact the ratings along with

    charging the armed forces $ to be “honored” at games

    punishing a player for a equipment violation more games than for one charged with domestic violence

    terrible referees

    fining players for having too much fun

    the amount of and frequency of commercials

    the commissioner is a snake

    add these all up you will probably get the answer!!

  46. TitanUp 1999 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:49 PM

    It’s the election? Yeah right…

    To be honest, as much as I hate Cuban, he was right. There’s “too much” football, they’ve virtually ruined the game with terrible rules and expanded draft times, moving the Super Bowl, having a ridiculous Pro Bowl, ect, ect..

    The players being overpaid drama queens and turds is a whole other thing. Personally, I’ve only watched the Titans this year, I would have usually watched SNF, MNF, and TNF but I just don’t even care as much for the game anymore as I used to.

    The anthem thing is a HUGE deal when you consider the largest demographic of fans for football, which is middle aged white guys.

  47. georgegsmiller says: Oct 7, 2016 1:49 PM

    For the NFL to say Ratings have NOT been effected by the protests is an outright lie.

    On the other hand, I believe underneath the surface there is something very sinister going on… not exactly what it is but it wreaks of Politics.

    In the long run, the person who will be affected by all of this will be Roger Goodell. Oh and the MEDIA as well. They BOTH have something in common… they bite off the hand that feeds them. In the end they BOTH will lose.

  48. cardinealsfan20 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:49 PM

    Once again, 99% of those claiming not to be watching are simply not being truthful. It sounds good to post, but it’s not true.

  49. leroyquimby says: Oct 7, 2016 1:49 PM

    Its a lot of things.

    Product is worse is #1 for me. I’m sorry but I watch to see the play on the field. Its hard to have play when there is a penalty to negate it every 2 seconds. I don’t watch for the refs. The flags make it less fun.

    #2 is Redzone or multiwatch games. Everyone is part of a fantasy team or bets on games so they would rather watch big plays with no commercials rather than 800 flags with 900 commerical breaks.

    #3 is overexposure. It used to be after the draft you didn’t hear anything about football until August and we were dying to watch it. Now I barely notice its gone so I’m not as amped going into the season as I used to be.

    #4 is less TV is watched in general. People have so many things to watch or do these days and aren’t relegated to what is on TV to occupy their time. Big companies are usually the last to notice this kind of stuff then they start taxing it because they are angry they missed the boat.

    Just my 2 cents.

  50. purplekoolaid1 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:50 PM

    Politics, rule changes, referee huddles, lengthy replay reviews, no hitting, all offense, suspensions, increasing amount of major injuries to star players, constant news about off field drama, tons of flags = ratings drop.

    Not very hard to understand.

  51. stillers213 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:50 PM

    “You want to boycott the NFL, fine, that’s your prerogative, because this is America after all. But stop acting like we care, and stop coming here to crow about how indignant you..”
    ______________________
    Did you happen to notice the title of the article before your rant? People are giving their relevant opinions but you apparently have a huge problem with it because it differs from yours. Typical!

  52. bleedingfacemask says: Oct 7, 2016 1:51 PM

    As someone once said, this is the PERFECT time to panic.

    There WAS a poll conducted by Rasmussen, and reported on by SportingNews and Forbes and many other outlets, that the anthem protest has had a significant impact on fans…specifically, many have stopped watching games because of the protests.

    If the league were smart, they’d focus the cameras on the flag and our service men and women in attendance, and ignore the sidelines.

  53. rockbot69 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:51 PM

    Its a lot of things. Kind of a perfect storm for the NFL right now. That Sean McDougnoterrible is AWFUL on MNF – he has NO chemistry with Gruden. The protests (I personally don’t care but, a lot of folks do), London games are not working and awful, Peyton retiring and Brady being suspended at the same time is another reason, Brees, Rodgers both not playing just real great. Beckham’s acting like a 6 year old. ED ad’s much? And there is also a offset with online streaming services like Sling, Twitter, and Sony Vue. Not to mention Redzone.

  54. RussianBreadMaker says: Oct 7, 2016 1:52 PM

    TOO MANY COMMERCIALS.

  55. cardinealsfan20 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:53 PM

    Please quit posting “I’ve talked to several people who are not watching, multiply that across the country “. That is about as far from a scientific sample as possible.

  56. demskinsbaby says: Oct 7, 2016 1:53 PM

    If it is effecting the ratings…. Maybe it’s having the desired affect and something will be done about the police murdering innocent unarmed black people.. However, if it’s not what’s causing the low ratings and it’s because if the officiating and the nfl dictator Goodell… Something has to give, right?

  57. jagsfanugh says: Oct 7, 2016 1:54 PM

    I heard a recent poll that 32% said was because of the Anthem. My support has gone down since they brought this political stunt into entertainment.

  58. dumbaseinstien says: Oct 7, 2016 1:54 PM

    Really? I won’t watch any game where I see someone disrespect the flag & the NFL does nothing to prevent that display.

    Ratings officially affected…

  59. phinsfan66 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:54 PM

    Mongo…
    I couldn’t agree more… These few guys, who are protesting, kneeling, sitting, raising a fist, whatever they want to do, really must think they are WAY more important than they really are:) They are simply football players who, by the way, won’t spend a dime to help any of these causes.

  60. bangpow says: Oct 7, 2016 1:55 PM

    I love how the NFL Office blames everything but themselves.

    They are the ones changing the game and adding more commercials and rules make it unwatchable.

  61. xavier179 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:57 PM

    How about we prevent singers from putting their personal touch on the anthem. I hate hearing it being sung with a country twang or and r&b type rendition.

  62. mmack66 says: Oct 7, 2016 1:59 PM

    I knew it.

  63. fjbuon says: Oct 7, 2016 1:59 PM

    Why is he afraid to confront this? Big tough guy in all other instances.

  64. 3yardsndust says: Oct 7, 2016 2:00 PM

    Blaine Gabbert, Cody Kessler, Brian Hoyer, Derek Anderson, Drew Stanton, Tyrod Taylor, Case Keenam, Ryan Tannehill, Kirk Cousins, etc. — These are starting NFL quarterbacks this week. None of these guys should be starters. The same is true for other positions and other teams – lack of quality players, substandard product. On top of that, 352 truck and beer commercials, annoying announcers, blind refs, divas and their temper tantrums, dirty players trying to paralyze with the crown of their helmets, and the list goes on and on.

    Which millionaire will be the next guy to knock out his wife or babymama? Or leave a ten cent tip? Or get pulled over drunk doing 110mph in a $250,000 car?

  65. JSpicoli says: Oct 7, 2016 2:01 PM

    say it over and over until everyone just agrees with you.

  66. ditkainyourbutkus says: Oct 7, 2016 2:01 PM

    “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for”

  67. saltineamerican says: Oct 7, 2016 2:02 PM

    All of you people who have to come here and tell us all about how you “aren’t watching any games” or “aren’t giving the NFL a dime this year!” or whatever are just sad, pathetic narcissist. No one cares what you do and don’t do, and you aren’t proving a point by doing what you are doing. Players want to protest, let ’em, they have a right to free speech because this is America after all. You don’t have to agree with them. You want to boycott the NFL, fine, that’s your prerogative, because this is America after all. But stop acting like we care, and stop coming here to crow about how indignant you while simultaneously being unaware of the irony of holding the American flag and yelling about “freedoms” in response to someone else exercising

    Sorry my friend, you are wrong. Football players are employees of the team. When they are in uniform on game day, they are “on the clock”.
    They are as able to “protest” while in that uniform as I am while on the clock at my job. The only owner with any courage is Jerry Jones.

  68. leroyquimby says: Oct 7, 2016 2:06 PM

    Blaine Gabbert vs Drew Stanton?

  69. ilovefoolsball says: Oct 7, 2016 2:06 PM

    I mean really?
    A large percentage of the viewing audience has voiced their displeasure with the FOCUS on these acts by the networks and the media and he doesn’t think that is going to have an effect?
    The presidential election may be having some effect as well but you can’t say that these immature attention seeking gestures are having NO effect at all.
    It’s not a good thing for the league there is no doubt about that.

  70. exinsidetrader says: Oct 7, 2016 2:07 PM

    Life starts to make much more sense when you just assume that the NFL and the MSMedia are lying to you. This is just another example.

  71. selldannysell says: Oct 7, 2016 2:09 PM

    Given all of the incidents of people who talk, eat, laugh, wear their hats, and scream during the anthem before games, I think it’s silly that people are up in arms about the players who are protesting. While I understand their protest and wish they wouldn’t use the anthem as their platform, I’ve seen more in the way of disrespecting the anthem in the stands.

  72. joecool16280 says: Oct 7, 2016 2:10 PM

    What some of you commenters think is comedy is pretty sad. That being said, here’s my reasons.

    Fantasy football: why watch when all you care about is individual players and you can check their points on your phone?

    Kaepernick: despite them saying it’s not an issue, it is. I couldn’t care less about the protests but a lot of other people do.

    Overexposure: There doesn’t need to be Thursday games. Weak, unwatchable football. How do they expect players to heal up in 4 days?!

    Poor play: too many injuries have depleated the talent pool plus too many teams. Back ups are back ups for a reason.

  73. dcpatfan says: Oct 7, 2016 2:10 PM

    You “wingers” can’t get over yourselves…..

    Personally I can’t wait till all y’all stop watching.

  74. fwippel says: Oct 7, 2016 2:14 PM

    Wishful thinking on the part of the league.

    I’m sorry, but if you don’t realize that a significant portion of your own fan-base is made up of a bunch of law-enforcement officials and military veterans, and that these people are upset by these protests, then you need to find another job.

    One more thing: if any of us in flyover country tried to us our jobs as a platform for social protests, we’d be disciplined, if not fired outright. I can understand Roger Goodell not getting this – he’s an empty suit. But the owners didn’t get to where they are at today by allowing the employees of their other companies (that mad them wealthy) to use their jobs to spearhead the promotion of social issues.

  75. cardinealsfan20 says: Oct 7, 2016 2:15 PM

    Here is the bad/sad news for those few who actually are not watching, buying tickets or merchandise, etc. because of the anthem nonsense:

    Your individual “protest” is irrelevant. Your letters to sponsors go straight to the trash. Your emails are sorted and given an auto reply. There is no organized boycott that you are a part of. Sponsors have much more sophisticated methods of determining viewership.

  76. ps3988 says: Oct 7, 2016 2:18 PM

    I lost a lot of my interest in football when, after 43 years of watching (I’m 53, I only really knew the game at 10) I no longer could define what a catch was. What was wrong with possession of the ball with two feet down? What’s “a football move” other than a way of making something that’s black and white into something entirely subjective. I’ll quite watching completely when:

    Kickoffs are eliminated, or they put a team overseas.

    Additionally: Goodell’s tyrannical rule is a major turn off.

    Touchdown. Commercial. Kick off. Commercial. Come back for 1 play and quarter ends. Commercial.

    365 days of year of whining and “football court”.

    Horrible officiating.

    Game changing and subjective personal fouls.

    It’s VERY close to unwatchable.

  77. kenmasters34 says: Oct 7, 2016 2:19 PM

    While I am sure the protests are affecting viewership somewhat…. IMO the bigger problem is the product on the field.

    All the new anti defense rules, fines for celebration, getting rid of kickoffs, refs cant tell whats a catch, or fumble…… OR even who has the ball!

    I haven’t watched much football this season. But what I have watched has been terrible.

  78. realfootballfan says: Oct 7, 2016 2:24 PM

    Especially since well, if they didn’t show it on TV, no one would know one way or the other. You know, like every other football game before that 49er preseason game made the cameras decide to start showing something so insignificant. Let’s get some zoom ins of the crowd to see who isn’t standing and singing along, lol.

  79. cadreamer1969 says: Oct 7, 2016 2:25 PM

    scrp2 says:
    Oct 7, 2016 1:45 PM

    I agree with the earlier commenter, training camps are so soft, lot of players out for the season. The players are exhausted in the 4th quarter and the losing team will aquiesce. Ridiculous clown uniforms, bad SNF matchups, fantasy football burnout, no taunting penalties, saturation in the market, head-scratching suspensions and Phil Simms.

    Why would any player get tired with all of the TV timeouts? They had commercials after every change of possession and that still wasn’t enough. The announcers did commercials after coming back from commercials. TV has destroyed the game. TV timeouts and replays changed the game. The NFL sold out to the TV money.

  80. artic19 says: Oct 7, 2016 2:26 PM

    ps3988 says:
    Oct 7, 2016 2:18 PM
    I lost a lot of my interest in football when, after 43 years of watching (I’m 53, I only really knew the game at 10) I no longer could define what a catch was. What was wrong with possession of the ball with two feet down? What’s “a football move” other than a way of making something that’s black and white into something entirely subjective. I’ll quite watching completely when:

    Kickoffs are eliminated, or they put a team overseas.

    Additionally: Goodell’s tyrannical rule is a major turn off.

    Touchdown. Commercial. Kick off. Commercial. Come back for 1 play and quarter ends. Commercial.

    365 days of year of whining and “football court”.

    Horrible officiating.

    Game changing and subjective personal fouls.

    It’s VERY close to unwatchable.
    ———————————————–
    You can say that again

  81. kindbass says: Oct 7, 2016 2:26 PM

    For a bunch of people who hate football so much, you guys sure love commenting on football articles.

  82. riraider says: Oct 7, 2016 2:28 PM

    I’m not buying the NFL “spin”
    The players can sit, stand or pick their nose, I don’t care!
    DON’T show it on tv. They stopped showing stupid fans running on the field they can stop showing stupid players on the sideline!

  83. PFT loves the Steelers says: Oct 7, 2016 2:29 PM

    I personally believe it’s due to the digital age and the tech savvy people. I still have the old fashioned Sunday Ricket but I do have friends with legal devices that get the games on their computer and just stream it in their TV. Every smart tv is own onnected to the internet Just my opinion
    ______________________

    I keep seeing people saying this, but it doesn’t jive with reality. Red Zone and Millenials with tablets were around last year too. So was DeflateGate. The ratings have dropped significantly from last year, and the only thing that’s changed is these dumb protests. IMO, the protests are the straw that broke the camel’s back. People were already sick of the NFL’s shenanigans. The protests just provide a good reason to stop watching.

  84. dreadnok89 says: Oct 7, 2016 2:29 PM

    The attendance last night was atrocious.

  85. dannyabramowitz says: Oct 7, 2016 2:36 PM

    BS! It’s the only variable that’s changed. I know it’s why I’m not watching.

  86. sorosbolshevism says: Oct 7, 2016 2:37 PM

    Most of us work for companies that do not allow political discussions and/or protests in the workplace. The NFL has no problem with it, apparently. It is hurting their product. If we want politics, there’s multiple sources. Wear your socks wrong and get fined. Disrespect the symbols of our liberty and you are lauded. Welcome to Absurdistan!

  87. ebdug says: Oct 7, 2016 2:37 PM

    “In fact, our own data shows that the perception of the NFL and its players is actually up in 2016,”

    This statement is either a mistake or a bald faced lie. Given it’s origin, you have to assume the latter.

    Either way, the NFL is well on it’s way to botching this crises. Fans should be ecstatic, what’s bad for the owners is good for the game.

  88. kuhlest says: Oct 7, 2016 2:38 PM

    as a Firefighter Paramedic whom is also a Veteran…I totally disagree with this statement/propaganda the league is putting out….at my job as a public servant I am always warned to keep neutral in political issues and smile, and if I was to voice my opinion on any issues or politics I am told that it would be viewed as the stance of the department and the city. also I am cautioned to what I put on social media and do/say in public as people know who I am and weather or not I am on duty I represent my employer……and I get paid a fraction of what these guys are being paid…..its not appropriate…..so the guys cant shoot a bow and arrow after a TD/int or twerk, but we allow them to sit or kneel during our national anthem…that’ll teach the kids right from wrong…….WAKE UP NFL!

  89. stairwaytoharvin says: Oct 7, 2016 2:43 PM

    It’s not a big deal unless you want it to be a big deal. To boycott nearly 1,500 American players that are standing because a handful (what maybe 30 guys?) of Americans are not standing just seems beyond unreasonable logic.

    —————————————————————-
    If that was all it was, I would see your point. But last night I watched a snippet of the pregame and it was all anyone talked about for hours. Deion with his “I’d hate to think” speech finally got me to shut it off. It’s both them kneeling and the constant media coverage throwing it in your face every chance they get thats what is really turning people off.

    PS – Is that the only reason ratings are down? Of course not. One thing no one has talked about and part of me wonders is if Oakland and St Louis have turned off the tube and LA/Las Vegas have yet to catch up

  90. demskinsbaby says: Oct 7, 2016 2:45 PM

    What people are doing is actually watching the game at a location where a lot of people are watching it (friends house, Buffalo Wild Wings, etc)..and then come in here and say they are boycotting football. I can read the “cons” like a book!

  91. cafetero1075 says: Oct 7, 2016 2:47 PM

    I have been bored this year with the NFL, I don’t know if it’s because my Phins suck, or just Goodell and some of these clowns like Kaepernick turned me off.

  92. truthdispensary says: Oct 7, 2016 2:49 PM

    Every team who allows it’s players to disrespect the flag is also disrespecting the flag. All those teams need to be boycotted by anyone who supports the flag!

  93. silverandblack052099 says: Oct 7, 2016 2:49 PM

    You may not like the anthem protests,you may not like the quality of the product on the field, You may not like Goodell but like it or not people are still watching. The NFL is still the highest rated program when its on TV (I know the debate beat it in the ratings but the debates will be over soon). The networks that aren’t showing NFL games when they are on would gladly trade ratings with those that do. I think a very big reason why ratings are down is because of “cord cutting”, if the NFL finds a way to go all access streaming ratings will sky rocket.

    I can’t help but laugh at the people who claim to “be done with the NFL” yet they are commenting on PFT everyday, or those who say “I only watch my local team now”. Hey morons, that means you’re still watching!

  94. luvpeytonmanning says: Oct 7, 2016 2:50 PM

    Bet me people are disgusted by those who are disrespecting our flag.

  95. annapterp says: Oct 7, 2016 2:52 PM

    I tend to agree with the NFL on that. What is impacting ratings is the ridiculous officiating brought about by an absurd rule book. Add that into the overall mismanagement of the league by Goodell has led people to be bored with the NFL.

    They are still raking in billions, but the slow decline of the NFL continues.

  96. billjoseph2014 says: Oct 7, 2016 2:53 PM

    This coming from an organization that CHARGED the Department of Defense to allow military displays of the Flag at NFL games! Of course they are going to deny the lowered viewers are from fans who are sick and tired of this crap but it will eventually bite them right in the butt. On top of that, the team owners are at fault for not insisting the players live to a code of conduct that is consistent with good manners and patriotism. I would like to point out that jerk Cromartie no longer has a job . . . .I LIKE IT!

  97. dohczeppelin says: Oct 7, 2016 2:55 PM

    “How does the league know with certainty that those folks aren’t successfully blowing the house down?”

    Because most people are full of crap and just like whining, that’s how. And because the actions of a small percentage of a players is a stupid reason to boycott something anyways.

    This is why even though most people claim to hate things like Wal-Mart, products made in China, light beer, Nickelback albums, etc. these things remain extremely popular. People just want attention.

  98. ragnarthemagnificent says: Oct 7, 2016 2:56 PM

    I blame Obama and renewable energy.

  99. thermalito says: Oct 7, 2016 3:02 PM

    And once again the NFL giving the middle finger to the millions of fans who are disgusted and offended by these vile anti-American protests. They refuse to acknowledge we even exist. Feeling great about never contributing to or watching the NFL ever again

  100. MattyD says: Oct 7, 2016 3:03 PM

    It’s pretty simple…The product sucks, most of the teams and their QBs suck, the games have too many penalties and commercials, and a lot of fans are tuning out because of those factors. For the many fans who do not agree with the anthem protests, the product on the field is making their decision to turn away from the league that much easier. As much as the MSM wants to say the Kaepernick backlash is a non-factor, I think the fact that the league even acknowledged it shows that it is.

    No side of the argument as to the cause of the ratings decline is wrong, unless you’re trying to say the anthem protests have nothing to do with it…It may not have caused fans to go from 0 to 100 in a second, but for many fans I bet it was a “last straw” kind of moment. It’s silly to continue to ignore the effect the protests and the backlash is having. It may not be the biggest factor, but it’s A factor.

  101. mark4steelers says: Oct 7, 2016 3:03 PM

    This isn’t both the NFL’s & each team’s issue. The NFL can use the CBA’s “Behavior Detrimental to the League” clause to punish players & teams can punish them for activity that causes disruption in the locker rooms. The NFL & individual teams ignoring this behavior is an insult the majority of Americans.

  102. 2manyconcussions says: Oct 7, 2016 3:05 PM

    As a veteran of 20 years, I tire of being used by NFL players to further their agendas. What has any of these guys done to other than excel at football? Yet, they think because they are exceptional athletes that I care about their opinions on social justice? Get a grip. When they have earned the right to speak into my life on issues other than football, then they I will listen.

    At this point, I haven’t seen any evidence they have spent the intellectual capital to understand the issues nor add anything of value to the discussion . Take for example Kaepernick. When one decides to take a knee until he gets his way, under what conditions could he ever stand again for the national anthem? When, in this country, will racism truly end? The answer is never.

    I wish he would have gone on a hunger strike instead. At least then, we would have been able to recognize the idiocy more clearly. There would have never been a time when Kaepernick could have begun to eat again because America will never have perfect race relations. Imagine his surprise when he realized that in order for him to end his hunger strike America needed perfect racial harmony. This dude is clueless. Well intentioned maybe, but clueless, yes.

  103. truehoosier62 says: Oct 7, 2016 3:05 PM

    I love my Vikings, but the day they start engaging in the ill considered protests currently gripping other NFL teams, is the day I find something else to do with my time on a Sunday afternoon.

  104. dohczeppelin says: Oct 7, 2016 3:08 PM

    I love how all of these people claiming to be boycotting the NFL due to the political views of a back-up QB or because they are angry about the catch rule still find the time in their day to browse the comment sections of an NFL blog though. Lol

  105. antkowiak666 says: Oct 7, 2016 3:09 PM

    Too many changes to the game for the worse and not knowing what a catch is anymore is just unbelievable and NOT very entertaining.
    The game has come to a snails pace with all the penalties and reviews.
    If any of you feel the same I advise you to try watching hockey……fast paced,non stop action and brutal hits without all silly penalties you see in the NFL:)

  106. Trust No One says: Oct 7, 2016 3:09 PM

    They’re wrong.

  107. dickroy says: Oct 7, 2016 3:09 PM

    I’m surprised Obama hasn’t taken a knee.

  108. dpkimball says: Oct 7, 2016 3:11 PM

    Honestly, the anthem protests aren’t the reason I don’t watch as much football as I used to. Do I agree with what Kap is doing/saying? No I don’t. Am I sick of hearing about it? Yes I am. Does it make me watch less football? No.

    I have watched the least amount of football to start the season than I can ever remember. I just don’t have as much free time as I used to. I would consider myself a diehard Lions fan, and I haven’t even watched all of their games.

    Too many commercials. Let me repeat, TOO MANY COMMERCIALS! If the Lions aren’t on and I actually find the time to watch games on Sunday I’m tuning into the redzone channel simply to not watch ads.

    Too many penalties. Too many reviews. These things lead to even more commercials.

    I work. I occasionally have to work weekends. I have a family. I can’t stay up all night to watch Thursday night, Sunday night, and Monday night games. Even if I could, there are TOO MANY COMMERCIALS!

    The death of the run game, big hits, and the illegal contact and defensive holding calls to make life easier for the offense to pass the ball is yet another reason I don’t watch.

    We also had a very nice September and even October has been unseasonably warm in Northern Michigan. Sorry Roger, if it’s nice outside I’m taking my family boating or something fun instead of sitting inside to watch commercials all day.

    Maybe I’ll watch more NFL when it starts snowing.

  109. silverhat78 says: Oct 7, 2016 3:20 PM

    I ball BS. I think fans have enough political garbage on a daily basis that they use football to escape. Adding more political issues or statements to the already daily dose of politics is turning fans off from watching the games.

  110. smedley61 says: Oct 7, 2016 3:20 PM

    Baghdad Bob comes to mind.

  111. keeppounding says: Oct 7, 2016 3:25 PM

    Cant fool me

  112. bigmark67 says: Oct 7, 2016 3:26 PM

    These protests are having an effect. The networks and the NFL need to stop giving the protestors screen time and focus on the pre-game or anything else. Either that or keep the protesting players in the locker room until the anthem is over, they can take a knee, diddle each other or whatever they want while waiting for the oppressive anthem to be over. Also the league seems to be taking sides, they wouldn’t allow the Dallas Cowboys to honor the murdered Dallas policemen with an emblem on their helmets but they allow these anthem protests every game, double standard….

  113. porkchopmoon says: Oct 7, 2016 3:29 PM

    BLAME Canada!

  114. dzor22 says: Oct 7, 2016 3:35 PM

    I haven’t gone to a game, or spent money at all on march.
    I’ll go eventually but I don’t find watching people
    Disrespect the flag as sport and I don’t
    Have to support a political ideal. I’ll end
    Up at a game yet; but well see.

  115. rcali says: Oct 7, 2016 3:36 PM

    This just in!!! CNN has stated that the NFL Protests are absolutely NOT the reason for the bad ratings. There you go Deplorables!

  116. dzor22 says: Oct 7, 2016 3:36 PM

    I haven’t gone to a game, or spent money at all on merchandise.
    I’ll go eventually but I don’t find watching people
    Disrespect the flag as sport and I don’t
    Have to support a political ideal. I’ll end
    Up at a game yet; but well see.

  117. jthompsoninc says: Oct 7, 2016 3:37 PM

    I had to laugh at the guy saying the boycotters go to a sports bar to watch a game and then say they boycott the nfl. That’s kind of what I’m doing or thought about doing. I will not have the nfl on in my house at all. The first week I felt almost physical withdrawals but after that it’s been easy and not even interested although I still like to listen to the radio talkers talk about it. I had thought well if a TV is on at Hooters I’ll watch there because the TV will be on anyway. But I haven’t even done that. Just don’t care. Bad football, turdlike people playing, left wing commentators, won’t allow show of respect to dead police officers, no interest at all.

  118. vinylwindows says: Oct 7, 2016 3:38 PM

    The NFL should just tell the networks to stop showing the protest. The problem would go away.

  119. razzlejag says: Oct 7, 2016 3:39 PM

    I agree with the guy above about the commercials. I’ll still watch my team but I don’t bother with the other games. I am also giving up my 8 season tickets this year and buying a boat. No more commercials.

  120. ReligionIsForIdiots says: Oct 7, 2016 3:40 PM

    No one cares about anthem protests.

  121. chris87654 says: Oct 7, 2016 3:48 PM

    I may come back later but I wasn’t a hardcore fan anyway… the Rams moved and they seldom won. At least the baseball strike had something to do with baseball.

  122. briddes says: Oct 7, 2016 3:59 PM

    I am not watching the NFL because of the protests even though the team that I follow has not done a protest. I have told family and friends not to buy me anything with the NFL shield on it.

  123. bostonsteve12 says: Oct 7, 2016 4:00 PM

    Maybe ted Wells could charge the 25 million to tell the NFL ratings are down because people hate Goodell and, it is more probable than not that ratings will go back up once Goodell jumps off the George Washington Bridge- actually the event would be done on the NFL network as part of pregame programming

  124. southbison says: Oct 7, 2016 4:01 PM

    The protests are having an affect. I know my tv isnt adding to the ratings. Also: Yes it does not help with the antics of players either celebrating when they manage to make a play or looking for a flag when they blow a play.

  125. anotherpatsfan says: Oct 7, 2016 4:02 PM

    dohczeppelin says:
    Oct 7, 2016 3:08 PM

    I love how all of these people claiming to be boycotting the NFL due to the political views of a back-up QB or because they are angry about the catch rule still find the time in their day to browse the comment sections of an NFL blog though. Lol
    __________________________________

    Reading a blog and commenting takes about 5 minutes – and there are no commercials.

  126. thermalito says: Oct 7, 2016 4:03 PM

    If CNN says so it must be true right? I think CNN is a little late regurgitating the Kaepernick apologists talking points on this about poor play, the presidential election, the sun and moon not aligned correctly, etc. Problem is none of those “factors” would have led to a sudden and dramatic drop in ratings as we have seen this year. Further proof when facts don’t fit the leftist narrative they just pretend they don’t exist

  127. kevpft says: Oct 7, 2016 4:04 PM

    It hasn’t affected my viewership, but I think it’s pretty naive to think it hasn’t impacted ratings. There are just too many people angry about it for it to not be having an effect.

    And for all that I support the players’ right to protest, it’s also pretty clear that their protest is having no impact whatsoever on the issues they’re concerned about. Each week, they get less coverage and fewer people care that they’re doing it. It’s just millionaires doing something easy. It’s not changing anything.

  128. mattwalshvideo says: Oct 7, 2016 4:06 PM

    The growing number of anti-American protests during pro football is now hitting the broadcast networks in the wallet as advertisers demand refunds on their advertising costs because of falling ratings.
    The negative effect on the NFL of the anti-American national anthem protests started by San Francisco 49ers second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick is coming more sharply into focus each week. Firstly, ratings have been tumbling week over week and now another metric to measure the effect has appeared as TV networks have now been forced to begin giving money back to advertisers because not as many people are watching football to be exposed to their TV commercials.

    The networks have been providing advertisers with what are termed “make-goods.” These are refunds given to advertisers because the cost of advertising is predicated on the number of viewers a TV commercial will reach during a pro football game. But with ratings falling, often by double digits, advertisers are demanding their “make-goods” because ads are hitting far fewer eyes than they paid for.

    Some are already calling these make-goods the “Kaepernick effect” with advertising revenues taking a major hit as fans tune out in droves.

  129. thermy1 says: Oct 7, 2016 4:09 PM

    NFL gets another one wrong. I did not watch last night because of the protests. Nothing else on so watched some reruns.

  130. maxkingpin says: Oct 7, 2016 4:18 PM

    That fool on the Santa Clara team is the main reason why I did not watch this past Thursday football, and is among the reasons I watch no games other than my team.

  131. oldbrowndawg says: Oct 7, 2016 4:26 PM

    Right, NFL. And the invasion from the Middle East by “migrants” has nothing to do with the violence committed against Europeans in France, German, Belgium, and Sweden. Ah, yes. The ideological straight jacket of the left. Keep drinkin’ that kool aid, folks. Nothing to see here. Move along, little sheep. Baaaahhhhha.

  132. rootpain says: Oct 7, 2016 4:29 PM

    I haven’t watched a game this year. Has nothing to do with the protests because I stopped before the protests started. My issues are all related to Goodell. Can’t stand the guy and just want very little to do with anything he’s associated with. Goes for his executive team and the cabal of owners he controls as well. My kids know I like the Pats and will send me updates or news clips if they come across something (mainly sarcastic stuff cause none of them like the Patriots).
    Other than this blog, I have stopped spending any time on the NFL. And the only reason I still follow here is because it does sometimes keep me up to date with social issues (framed as somehow having to do with football) or because there are few posters I genuinely enjoy reading (jag1959 or tigerlilly) and some who are just off the wall and I enjoy razzing every now and then (limakey or the chipster).
    A couple of other reasons but in the end, my interest will totally peter out.
    Just like the NFL. I mean wouldn’t it be interesting to be in the meeting where these executives are sitting around coming up with ways to say we are not dying a slow death. It would be funny had Monty Python not come up with the “It’s only a flesh wound” skit 30 years ago.

  133. djvh2 says: Oct 7, 2016 4:29 PM

    “if I was to voice my opinion on any issues or politics I am told that it would be viewed as the stance of the department and the city”

    In this case, that is the NFL’s stance (regarding the race issues, but players aren’t allowed to honor fallen police). Much like this administration and this web site, the facts don’t matter, they are right and that’s all there is to it.

    In the NFL’s case, it’s amazing because they are so greedy, so it seems something is driving this from outside.

    Fans and people in general are tired of the PC crap. It’s so obvious. Fans were already on the ledge, this pushed some off.

  134. bonesawisready says: Oct 7, 2016 4:38 PM

    Oh no, people are peacefully protesting and it makes me uncomfortable, so I’m going to claim they are unamerican and hate veterans (even though I know it has absolutely nothing to do with veterans). Nevermind that no issue at all with supporting a candidate who has directly insulted veterans on multiple occasions. I need to retreat to my safe space so I don’t have to see these offensive peaceful protest, who is me, I’m such a victim.

  135. sariff420 says: Oct 7, 2016 4:42 PM

    Stop playing the anthem. No other job plays the anthem before the start of the work day. Its all just nationalist propaganda. Stop it

  136. texaspistoleer says: Oct 7, 2016 4:43 PM

    It’s not the protests themselves. It’s the ridiculous media coverage of the protests.

    I turned on MNF the other night, only to be shown a montage of protests and discussion of protests/politics as the game was starting, but nothing about football. I turned the game off. After my other show ended, I switched back. It was halftime, and it was SAS and someone else in a studio talking about protests and politics, AGAIN. I turned it off for good.

    I watch football for, you know, football.

  137. pauldeba says: Oct 7, 2016 4:47 PM

    After the Deflategate fraud, not watching any games and I’m starting to lose interest completely. I feel no pressure at all to turn the TV on at 1PM Sunday, I’d prefer to take a nap, eat lunch, go for a walk, I’ll just look at the scores on a non-NFL.com website when the games are over, just don;t care any more

  138. asparatame says: Oct 7, 2016 4:48 PM

    Tell that to the pollsters who have found otherwise.

  139. jimmyjohns01 says: Oct 7, 2016 4:56 PM

    “In fact, our own data shows…”

    ———————————————

    I stopped listening at that point.

  140. dmca12 says: Oct 7, 2016 5:12 PM

    Thankfully, the NFL cleared that up, and we can always rely on the accuracy of statements coming from that office. I mean the NFL would never mislead or misstate things would it?

  141. monkeyodeath says: Oct 7, 2016 5:14 PM

    The whole NFL culture is out of step with how so many people think and see the world — as evidenced by how much people are riled up about a dude kneeling during the national anthem.

    It’s unbelievable how sensitive the NFL and its fans have become. Players can’t speak their minds on anything without running afoul of the fans, Goodell, or both. Cam Newton is vilified because he’s in a bad mood after the biggest loss of his life. Marshawn Lynch gets fined thousands of dollars because he’s a quiet guy who doesn’t want to answer inane media questions. Peyton Manning can shamelessly shill for junk food and alcohol and no one cares, but god forbid Kaepernick take a stand on a major issue that affects many of the league’s fans.

    No one goes nuts when LeBron James talks social issues, because NBA culture and fans don’t go crazy when a player speaks his mind instead of “yes, massa.” There’s not this prevailing attitude of “shut up and play, boy.” Which is why the NBA is an interesting sport with interesting personalities and great stories. The NFL would kill to have a SuperBowl with as much intrigue as the last NBA Finals, as many players that people know by only their first names.

    By contrast, who are the sanctioned stars of the NFL? Inoffensive, zero-personality figures like Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. What are the big stories of the NFL? Domestic violence, brain damage, and a domineering commissioner who’s somehow the most famous person in the league.

    Combine that with a game that’s already a boring, commercial-laden slog, and it makes sense why people are choosing to tune out the No Fun League, and why talented young dudes are going to find other sports to play.

  142. rsponholz says: Oct 7, 2016 5:14 PM

    I’m only one guy, but I’m protesting by not watching any games, except The Packers, who have behaved honorably. It’s my only way to respond. I realize lower ratings hurt my Packers, but I’m hoping the NFL will get control of their employees.

  143. immafubared says: Oct 7, 2016 5:21 PM

    I watched less football this year than ever for a lot of reasons but the protests were the icing on the cake that has been bakng for a while.
    I bet I’m like a lot of you, were more picky about the product these days.
    Mondays game, poor passing, poor running, poor defense. I watched 20 minutes then went to re runs.

  144. thermalito says: Oct 7, 2016 5:22 PM

    I’m pretty much emotionally checked out of the NFL. I don’t need to tune into a sporting event to be insulted. I look at the scores on the web the next day but haven’t watched a game all year and don’t plan on it. Wouldn’t dream of spending money on any of their overpriced merchandise at this point and wouldn’t go to a game if somebody gave me the tickets for free.

  145. bullcharger says: Oct 7, 2016 6:02 PM

    The point of the protests was to ruffle feathers. It’s having it’s desired effect.

  146. bullcharger says: Oct 7, 2016 6:04 PM

    bostonisthebestandyouallsukk says:
    Oct 7, 2016 1:39 PM

    As a pats fan, I really don’t think Brady not playing has anything to do with it. All my friends still watched.

    ———–

    The 10% drop isn’t diehard NFL fans that watch their team every week. It’s casual NFL fans that watch because Rodgers is going against Brees.

  147. factpurveyor says: Oct 7, 2016 6:06 PM

    pauldeba says:
    Oct 7, 2016 4:47 PM

    After the Deflategate fraud, not watching any games and I’m starting to lose interest completely. I feel no pressure at all to turn the TV on at 1PM Sunday, I’d prefer to take a nap, eat lunch, go for a walk, I’ll just look at the scores on a non-NFL.com website when the games are over, just don;t care any more
    —————————————————————

    The Deflategate fraud is not over yet!
    The NFL continues to keep the PSI information collected during the 2015 secret in order to perpetuate that fraud.

  148. ramfanmatt says: Oct 7, 2016 6:08 PM

    Anthem protest aren’t the sole reason, but to say it’s a non factor is nonsense. There is a whole litany of issues with the NFL. Goodell inherited a great league and ran it straight into the ground.

  149. mmack66 says: Oct 7, 2016 6:26 PM

    southbison says:
    Oct 7, 2016 4:01 PM

    The protests are having an affect. I know my tv isnt adding to the ratings.
    ————————–

    Unless you have a Nielsen box, it doesn’t matter anyway.

  150. djvh2 says: Oct 7, 2016 6:53 PM

    “The 10% drop isn’t diehard NFL fans that watch their team every week. It’s casual NFL fans”

    I realize it’s a very small sample, but every one of the people I know who aren’t watching because of the protests is a diehard fan and all 40 years old and older.
    The NFL is really messing up big time with their core fan base.

  151. thisisuselessblog says: Oct 7, 2016 7:47 PM

    Sorry but if you’re not watching the NFL because of some protests, you’re a pansy.

  152. tjdvikes says: Oct 7, 2016 11:56 PM

    Not watching any game this year if the Anthem is disrespected. Which is the first time in over 4 decades that I haven’t been glued to the TV on Sunday, Monday and Thursday.

  153. tralfaz1127 says: Oct 8, 2016 12:20 PM

    NFL ratings are down because the officiating has gotten worse, and it is obvious that an edict has came down telling Head officials to not overturn calls on revue. The amount of replays that have been upheld when they were clearly long is a joke.
    The league has peaked, and we are just beginning to see the slow slide to a new normal. Still the biggest bully on the block, but starting to show weakness.

  154. rugolin says: Oct 8, 2016 4:25 PM

    I was listening to one former NFL executive say “Does Ratings even Matter anymore?” Unless the ratings fall off the cliff by 50 or 60% the NFL is still going to get huge amount of cash from networks who are all competing for their product along with new online players like Twitter who stream. That may explain the lack of concern over losing 10-15% from a peak viewership number as they know a huge amount of football fans are such addicts they will never turn off no matter what goes on. Personally I have given up watching games on TV and only read recaps or listen on radio.

  155. y2cason says: Oct 9, 2016 10:47 AM

    I go to a sports bar to watch the games, and although TV ratings may be down, it does not appear to me that interest in the NFL is waning. The owner of the place I go to says sales are up over the past couple of years.

    I think the league needs to reconsider the concept of regional games. As a native of Colorado, there has been a huge influx in population to the state (for some reason) over the past couple of years. These people still want to watch the teams of their native region, but on most Sunday afternoons can only watch the Broncos game.

    The NFL package is cost prohibitive for many people. I don’t doubt that some people are sincere when they say they have stopped watching because of the anthem protests, and I think most of the other reasons discussed in these comments are valid.

    I can’t help but think the biggest problem is that many fans can’t watch their teams in an affordable way. The NFL needs to make the product available on more platforms than just television and radio.

  156. troylok says: Oct 10, 2016 7:06 AM

    Of course the protests and the lack of a response by the NFL has had an impact but I think the bigger impact is from a game that has become increasingly ruled by the officials. There are so many rules now that an official could literally call a penalty on every play. To believe that the rules are being fairly applied in an environment like that is silly. Fans know it. They see touchdowns taken away, fumbles given to the wrong team, ghost penalties, etc.

  157. aj66shanghai says: Oct 11, 2016 12:33 PM

    The NFL has long had the thickest rulebook of any sport. They’ll never ref the rules perfectly so whining about that is just dumb. Replay is good but should be limited to once per game per team, at most. Or once per season, then once per game in the playoffs.
    Without that “safety net” maybe the refs would strive to get it right in the first place.

    As far as the “I’d get fired from my job for politicking”-stuff, that’s because you have a normal job for normal pay. Workers make less than management in your job. And your job is not antitrust-exempt. And you can be replaced easily, and you have no guaranteed contract. You do not represent a multi-million dollar investment to your employer. Need I go on? YOU ARE NOT THE SAME AS AN NFL PLAYER, dummy!

  158. kmartin173 says: Oct 11, 2016 1:25 PM

    I suggest they look around at some other internet forums. Unless there are a lot of people lying about it the anthem is the reason for the boycotts.

  159. mja2001 says: Oct 11, 2016 4:09 PM

    Best I can offer is that:

    I avoided NFL tickets even with company discount due to the NFL’s condoning the practice of taking the knee…

    I’ve decided to buy no gear and kept that promise so far.

    I avoid every sponsor of games that I see on those now rare occasions I watch on Sunday afternoon, from food to whatever, whenever I can (lost 10 pounds so far, who needs that crap food/drink anyway?!).

    I make no effort to catch MNF, or SNF which was my fave way to end a weekend until this year. I signed up for softball instead, probably added to that 10 pound weight loss…

    “There’s no problem, no impact, next subject- inflation guidelines and attempting to further blur the rules on what a ‘catch’ is…”

    I wonder if they sent a “stupid” sign for owners to wear in the same package that included their well-written memo?

  160. mja2001 says: Oct 11, 2016 4:55 PM

    And one other near-pointless observation… we the commenters here are probably the best focus group the NFL could use to measure impact… Look at the UPS for those that say, “Screw it, I don’t need to be insulted and I won’t pay for someone to insult me, so kiss off NFL.” This is coming from us, the social base of NFL football regardless of team we back. It’s about the only time you’ll see a lot of Browns and Steeler fans on the same page. Or Raider fans and… well generally they hate everybody else so they can just be their own group…😉

    The anthem is a song of ideals that in the end comes down to, “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” You really want to protest that?? You have a problem with that?? Is that not the best goal, the best ideal to shoot for?? Idiot.

    The anthem doesn’t celebrate you if you don’t believe in the last line, or you say you do and don’t in practice. The anthem doesn’t celebrate you if you’re a bad cop, a drug dealer, a pimp, a human smuggler, an abusive parent, a politician that doesn’t know how to use email properly (ZING! 😉 )… Those aren’t the ideals of the anthem, therefore you are NOT celebrating those that fall outside that zone.

    PS- I’m not interested in older versions of the anthem that are NOT in use today, because, THEY AREN’T IN USE TODAY!

  161. stillers213 says: Oct 11, 2016 6:24 PM

    FYI – The older version references are to the colonies being slave to the King of England’s taxation, not slaves from Africa.
    People seem to want to find racism in anything without knowing the full context of the issue.

  162. tm81blog says: Oct 13, 2016 10:04 AM

    It was so much better when we didn’t really know what the player thought about anything. Its similar to Hollywood moron commenting on politics etc

  163. stevejjones says: Oct 13, 2016 1:57 PM

    So this is going to be a white black thing for you? Get me a panel of 65 year old married black women and ask them what they think of players humping oxygen in the end zone. I bet they don’t like it. Decency is not an attribute distributed by skin color.

  164. mrreality1 says: Oct 14, 2016 4:09 PM

    We have watched despite some NFL players eventually becoming convicted murderers, rapists, women beaters, child absurs, drug users and dog killers yet the flag protests is turning fans away? I do not agree with the protests but I think we’ve seen worse stuff out of NFL players. Seems caring priorities are lacking in America.

  165. whispersd says: Oct 14, 2016 4:15 PM

    This is how the NFL works. They put together a story first without worrying whether any real-world data supports it. They’ve taken this path countless times by now: regarding concussions, Bountygate, Deflategate, the Ray Rice issue…they don’t even believe in doing studies. That much is obvious. There’s an institutional contempt for doing the hard work necessary to figure out what’s actually going on.

    While I personally support the protests, I’m also quite aware that a lot of people don’t, and many have said they’re going to be ignoring the NFL as a result. The NFL wants to blame the election season. What are they going to do when the numbers don’t bounce back after the election? Probably the same thing they did with the PSI numbers they collected in 2015: distract, delay, disregard and deceive.

  166. whispersd says: Oct 14, 2016 4:18 PM

    ‘The anthem is a song of ideals that in the end comes down to, “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” You really want to protest that??’

    They’re not protesting that. They’re protesting how the nation’s police forces treat unarmed black men. When the nation lives up to the ideals it purports to embrace in the Anthem, we’ll all be better off.

  167. stillers213 says: Oct 14, 2016 5:55 PM

    The racial stats for police shootings closely follow the crime demographic stats, but you will not ever hear about shootings of other races in the mainstream media because it doesn’t incite emotion and violence.

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