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An idea to improve prime-time ratings

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell arrives for the Super Bowl 50 press conference February 5, 2016 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.
A perfectly scripted duel between Peyton Manning and his heir apparent Cam Newton will captivate America on Sunday as the Super Bowl marks its 50th anniversary with a quarterback showdown for the ages. / AFP / Timothy A. CLARY        (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

As the NFL’s owners gather in Houston for quarterly meetings and assuming that, like the rest of us, they’ll be surfing their phones instead of paying attention to the latest blah-blah -blah about more London games or whatever, here’s an idea intended for each of them who may be reading this instead of paying attention.

It’s an idea that was hatched, like so many of my bad ones are, on the fly while I was riffing during PFT Live about the absence of compelling prime-time games in 2016. This idea was neither sanctioned nor approved by NBC, which I need to mention because NBC would potentially benefit from it — and, frankly, would be expected to pay even more money to the league to make it a reality.

The last Sunday night game of the year is determined six days before kickoff, with none of the Week 17 contests previously earmarked for placement in the 8:30 p.m. ET window.

So why not do that every week?

In my own opinion (and not necessarily in the opinion of NBC, because frankly I don’t know NBC’s opinion on this), the “flex” concept has evolved from a device for putting the best possible game on Sunday night into a mechanism for protecting the NFL and NBC against a stinker. The resistance to swapping out the previously-scheduled 8:30 p.m. ET game for another one likely comes from the political push-and-pull that occurs when CBS or FOX are facing the loss of a game that they chose not to “protect” under the convoluted rules that give the daytime networks squatter’s rights on a handful of games each year.

The better approach, from the perspective of maximizing the network audience in prime time, would be to tentatively schedule no game for the evening slot and to decide on a weekly basis which contest will be moved. This would require a reconfiguration of the existing contracts, because FOX and CBS would have to tolerate, for example, losing last Sunday’s Cowboys-Packers game or this week’s Patriots- Steelers game. It also would create logistical issues for NBC, which would be living a week-to-week guessing game of where the trucks and the crew and the on-air talent would be traveling.

But if the overriding goal is to maximize the TV audience, it would make plenty of sense to pick the premier prime-time game of each week on a week-by-week basis. With a sliding of the schedule impractical on Thursdays and Mondays, the NFL should find a way to distinguish Sunday night.

The best way to do that would make every Monday an occasion for finding out which game will merit being moved to prime time six days later.

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105 Responses to “An idea to improve prime-time ratings”
  1. hairpie2 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:21 AM

    How about getting rid of goddell, his front office, the corruption and the terrible officiating? its no secret that more penalties = more commercials = more $$. we arent stupid.

  2. edukator4 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:22 AM

    no consideration to the people going to the games with this proposal.

  3. nsawins says: Oct 18, 2016 10:24 AM

    Keep the Clowns, Jets, Texans, Colts, Jaguars, Bears and other snooze-fest teams off primetime. They are terrible and/or so BORING to watch. Period. Put the teams people love to hate(New England and Dallas) on more as well as teams that with cache like the Steelers and Packers. You don’t see the NBA putting their crap teams on primetime. Put the premier teams on. Stop trying to put a chicken in every pot. Nobody wants to watch the Bills, Jets, Rams, 49ers and the rest of these teams with awful quarterbacks.

  4. blackbug99 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:24 AM

    Not a bad idea. We’ve seen how last years golden teams don’t always correlate into this years prime time teams. And, how about they just dump Thursday night games, and those god awful Nike pajamas!

  5. Stiller43 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:25 AM

    That’s also a great way to screw MANY fans because date/time is a large factor of why someone would choose a game to go to.

    If you’re planning on a 1pm (or 12EST) kickoff and it gets moved to 8:30pm, that’s potentially a lot of angry fans who can’t go/won’t go, and may need to sell their tickets semi-last minute for a potential loss.

    Would it help ratings? Yes. Would it screw the fans? Yes.

    Actually, it seems that’s kind of the formula for making these changes. Good call, Flo’ – this will probably happen.

  6. kjdoyle58 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:25 AM

    In addition to Hairpie2’s excellent suggestions…DUMP Thursday games except for Thanksgiving weekend.

  7. joenash72 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:26 AM

    How about just put every Seahawks game on Sun Night😉

  8. pnut87 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:26 AM

    How about getting refs that are NOT god awful? That’d get me to pay more attention.

  9. dmartin17 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:26 AM

    That is awful for the fans that have tickets for these games though. I know ratings matter more.

  10. favreisadouche says: Oct 18, 2016 10:26 AM

    Less commercials would help. The owners are going to take a massive hit in the next TV deal.

  11. redclaw1314 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:28 AM

    Sorry, but this proposal disregards the fans that actually attend the games.

  12. dwj says: Oct 18, 2016 10:29 AM

    How about getting rid of goddell, his front office, the corruption and the terrible officiating? its no secret that more penalties = more commercials = more $$. we arent stupid.

    _________________________________________

    I would say that more scoring plays equals more commercials.

  13. weepingjebus says: Oct 18, 2016 10:32 AM

    The league knows what it must do to bring fans back. We have told them repeatedly. If they want money, they will do what we say.

  14. harrisonhits2 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:32 AM

    I no longer watch any games but the Pats, and quite carefully make sure I do not even accidentally hit the channel any other games are on.

    The corruption of Goodell, the greed of the owners and the softening of the game have largely ruined the nfl experience for me.

    As a result I am engaging in any of the numerous other ways to entertain myself while they are on. If I could break my addiction to pft I’d probably stop watching all together.

  15. peytonwantsaflag says: Oct 18, 2016 10:33 AM

    You’re assuming the matchup is the problem with the ratings- it’s not. It’s the following (not necessarily in this order)-

    Political statements
    terrible officiating
    awful announcing
    a really, really bad (running out of negative adjectives) ESPN Monday night Crew
    Big Bang Theory

    How’s flexing going to fix all that?

  16. uab9253 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:33 AM

    I think it’s a bad idea. Believe it or not, there are people who actually pay to GO to a game and it often involves travel and planning. If I had tickets to a 1pm game and then it got moved to 830, I may not be able to go.

    Stupid idea. Really stupid.

  17. JSpicoli says: Oct 18, 2016 10:33 AM

    Have the league act like they are American would be a primary suggestion.

  18. stairwaytoharvin says: Oct 18, 2016 10:34 AM

    Better refs is my pick. Last night, the Jets had stopped the cards on third down at least twice only to be hosed by a ticky tack penalty that gave the cards a first down. That’s essentially a turnover and in one case led to the first cards TD. In basketball and hockey, there are so many possessions that losing one or two to bad refs isn’t a big deal. In baseball you have a set amount of outs. In football, turnovers are one of the biggest indicators of who will win the game and for refs to blow calls and essentially create them (or miss call on review when there is an actual turnover) is a huge deal.

  19. iamkillerfin says: Oct 18, 2016 10:34 AM

    Officiating is just ridiculous, London & now mexico games takes away a home game from their fans & Goodell don’t care!!! He is finally running the NFL into the ground, FIRE GOODELL!!!

  20. JSpicoli says: Oct 18, 2016 10:35 AM

    Still not admitting why the ratings are down?

  21. mccarthyisamoron says: Oct 18, 2016 10:36 AM

    At least it wouldn’t be last year’s good teams to get jerked around by the schedule, it would be the current good teams.

  22. djbg2002 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:37 AM

    You’re messing with people’s travel plans who are coming from out of town for those games by moving the day. Not the same as moving it a few hours.

  23. jim111111 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:37 AM

    What about the fans, I know they don’t care about us. Switching a 1 o’clock game to 4 is not that bad. But switch to 8:30 and it is a different thing. I like night games, but I know many people that don’t. I am talking about the people that actually go to the stadium and then have to work the next morning.

  24. liverpoolred04 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:40 AM

    Or or or, the NFL could get competent refs, then I’d watch more often.

  25. jimnaizeeum says: Oct 18, 2016 10:40 AM

    I would really be P/O’d if I had tickets to a 1PM away game that was flexed to Sunday night. Now I’m out the cost of the Sat night hotel & cost of the tickets..,,great plan.

  26. hairpie2 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:42 AM

    harrisonhits2 says:
    Oct 18, 2016 10:32 AM
    I no longer watch any games but the Pats, and quite carefully make sure I do not even accidentally hit the channel any other games are on.

    The corruption of Goodell, the greed of the owners and the softening of the game have largely ruined the nfl experience for me.

    you nailed it! I wont even watch espn after their involvement in the leagues lies. Either way, i am now EXTREMELY careful i do not leave the tv on for another game.

  27. dreadnok89 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:42 AM

    Let’s be honest. Majority of people that bailed this year were tired of the political garbage and race garbage. It doesn’t help having antics like Beckham and the weird Seattle Seahawks nonsense on the sidelines. And players burrifect running amok.

  28. joetoronto says: Oct 18, 2016 10:44 AM

    It’s not that simple, there are many reasons, many turnoffs for fans that this idea won’t fix.

  29. sonhoodoo says: Oct 18, 2016 10:44 AM

    I would watch more football if Goodell weren’t ruining the product.

  30. jgedgar70 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:45 AM

    Florio, I think you’re on the right track. I would be OK with scheduling the SNF game the first 2 weeks, then begin the flex concept you describe for week 3, deciding after week 1. That still gives you a shot at having a quality game, and gives NBC a little more lead time to plan the logistics. I would also kill the Thursday night games.

    We also need more consistency on start times. The prime time games all have to start no earlier than 8:30 Eastern, because apparently no one in the Pacific Time Zone owns a DVR and is deeply offended by games starting before then. But then we have London games that start at 2:30 London time, which is 6:30 AM Pacific. Why doesn’t the NFL think that is offensive to the Pacific Time Zone?

    Start all London games at 1:00 PM Eastern. Spread the Sunday day games out a little better – if we did manage to kill the Thursday debacles and have 14 games on Sunday, it’s OK to have 8 of them at 1:00 Eastern and 6 of them at 4:15. And start the prime time games at 7:30. I believe as many people on the West Coast have DVRs as the people on the East Coast, so there’s no harm in starting the games early enough so that people on the East Coast can watch the whole game without having to go to work on Monday / Tuesday morning on 5 hours sleep.

    I know the late start times & Thursday games are about making money. I’m a capitalist and am OK with that. But if you have a better product, and have the product available at times when everyone can enjoy the entire thing, your ratings will go back up and you can charge more for advertising. Everybody wins.

  31. 8oneanddones says: Oct 18, 2016 10:45 AM

    A big problem is that many fans believe the games are rigged and/or the refs inconsistent or just incompetent.

    Look at the Richard Sherman play. Sherman is a smart guy. He knew the refs would be less inclined to call a 40 yard PI against the home team at the end of a tight game, so he mugged Julio Jones and got away with it. That game may determine home field in January (just like the Fail Mary, which cost the Packers a first round bye in 2012). Most fans find that annoying. The league needs to do something to prevent scenarios such as that.

  32. owlbania says: Oct 18, 2016 10:47 AM

    Can’t watch a whole game if you live in eastern time zone unless you don’t need to get up early for work.
    How about just ditching Sunday/Monday/Thursday night games altogether?

  33. jag1959 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:47 AM

    If the ratings drop is about the quality of competition then the next month’s worth of games shapes up to be compelling, after that only a couple look like they may be worthwhile. But that’s a big ‘if’ considering the elephant in the room. The protests are small beer compared to the fact that many of us that would formerly consider ourselves diehard NFL fans no longer entirely trust the integrity of game results thanks to the duplicity of the league office that has come to light in the past year or two. We have always accepted that the owners are akin to robber barons but the idea that they are robber barons that entrust the integrity of ‘our’ game, screw their shield, to that den of corrupt thieves may finally have proven to be just too much.

  34. steelbydesign says: Oct 18, 2016 10:49 AM

    I’ve traveled to a lot of 1:00 Steelers games with plans of driving home to Cincy after the game so I can be at work Monday morning.

    Going to really piss me off if I do that and then the game is suddenly moved to 8:30, when I’ve often bought my tickets months ahead of time.

  35. daramsman says: Oct 18, 2016 10:50 AM

    Rating are not down becasue of political statements. Thats dumb. Ratings are down because of parity, concussions, Goodell and over saturation. Oh yeah and streaming (which I enjoy). The NFL knew this was coming this is why they want to expand globally to grow the league.
    I think the refs need to be interviewed after games like players. What good does it do to send the league a memo of a blown call after game is over. All PI calls should be reviewable.

  36. briang123 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:51 AM

    Sure, and stick it to the countless number of people that have made plans around that Sunday night game. For example, last year I was going to take my nephew to Patriots-Texans for a birthday present. Well, game got moved to Sunday night a few weeks before, and we had to cancel because we would have had to fly back Monday morning (with a few hundreds dollars ticket change fee and another night’s hotel bill) and he would have had to miss school, which his mother refused to allow.

    The NFL needs to address other problems, some of which it is in denial about.

  37. maust1013 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:52 AM

    redclaw1314 says:
    Oct 18, 2016 10:28 AM
    Sorry, but this proposal disregards the fans that actually attend the games.
    =======================

    Like they give a rat’s derriere about that.

  38. completefan says: Oct 18, 2016 10:53 AM

    Instead of screwing around with the Prime Time games, why don’t teams offer to play a 9:30 a.m. home game when there isn’t one in London that week.

  39. hairpie2 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:55 AM

    dwj says:
    Oct 18, 2016 10:29 AM
    How about getting rid of goddell, his front office, the corruption and the terrible officiating? its no secret that more penalties = more commercials = more $$. we arent stupid.

    _________________________________________

    I would say that more scoring plays equals more commercials.

    ———-

    yup, that too… the irritating fantasy football crowd…. but these games are a half hour to 40 minutes longer than they should be.

  40. jimbo75025 says: Oct 18, 2016 10:57 AM

    Assign any team that has a player “protesting” something during the anthem a 15 yard penalty to be enforced on each kickoff during the game.

    That would solve that little problem really quickly.

  41. floriosnuts says: Oct 18, 2016 10:58 AM

    These sudden and wild shifts in start times would create a nightmare for 85% of the fans attending the game. Especially those with kids that need to go to school the next day. It would be a gigantic middle finger to many season ticket holders.

  42. chuckshontaspads says: Oct 18, 2016 11:00 AM

    Fire Goodell and Blandino. Restore INTEGRITY

  43. perkjctc says: Oct 18, 2016 11:01 AM

    All these people are crying about if they had tickets to an early game and then it being flexed to a night game. The league is having trouble getting people to tune in, not to fill it’s stadiums. The few teams that can’t fill their stadiums usually aren’t good anyways so they wouldn’t have to worry about being flexed in the first place. If you are worried about buying a ticket and having the game moved then you should probably just stay at home a watch. There are plenty of other people who will buy the ticket you are afraid to purchases. Otherwise, accept that your team is good enough to get a prime time game and tough it out the next day at work. It’s really not that serious.

  44. granadafan says: Oct 18, 2016 11:02 AM

    Constant commercials, ad placements, pop up screen commercials, etc. We’re getting overwhelmed with sponsors. Enough.

  45. Kavon W. Nikrad says: Oct 18, 2016 11:03 AM

    It’s a work/school night for most American families. Not many people with full-time jobs and children can stay up past midnight to watch football.

  46. TB12RALLYCRY says: Oct 18, 2016 11:03 AM

    People are just tired of the NFL in general. Its a billion dollar business crying foul every time something or somebody has there pantys in a bunch. Sunday ticket is at an all time high and the product gets worse and worse every year. The NFL micromanages every move and does nothing without having its hand out for money. The NFL doesnt care about there fans as long as they are making money they will do and say anything…………..

  47. pastabelly says: Oct 18, 2016 11:06 AM

    A lot of people take kids to 1 pm games and those night games are neither family nor kid friendly. Monday is still a school day. Most people I know just hate going to night games in any case. I’ll go to a game a year and like going when the weather is nice and at 1 pm.

  48. ballistictrajectory says: Oct 18, 2016 11:06 AM

    Better idea: can the entire concept of prime-time and go back to Sunday afternoon only.

    More regional feeds would bring more people to watch their local teams and you’d see a bump.

  49. puffnstuff5005 says: Oct 18, 2016 11:07 AM

    I like your idea, but there’s a lot more wrong with the NFL than just having bad prime time matchups. The protests are really a minor thing when you compare them to the other more obvious problems with the NFL.

    I am often reminded of that article that was posted here not too long ago in which it was suggested that Roger Goodell doesn’t really care about officiating. And since the owners hired him and refuse to fire him, I’m wondering if they actually care about all the problems that this league has right now. I’m thinking that they don’t care.

    The owners and commissioner are completely out of touch with the every day fan. They consistently refuse to fix the real problems that are obvious to us, the fans, and it’s pretty sad to see this league in such a steep decline.

  50. brendafortheboyz says: Oct 18, 2016 11:09 AM

    When the league “figures out” the main problem with TV ratings, it may very well be too late…….Someone needs to wake up and smell the coffee and that can’t be done with one’s head in the sand!

  51. maxkingpin says: Oct 18, 2016 11:10 AM

    Definitely in the bottom ten all-time Florio suggestions.
    Quite the feat.

  52. pftthoughtpolicemostwanted says: Oct 18, 2016 11:11 AM

    That, or its the racist, anti-America players the teams in the league employ.

  53. factschecker says: Oct 18, 2016 11:12 AM

    Too many cooks spoil the broth. We currently discussing the already spoiled broth. Adding more cooks isn’t going to fix it.

  54. free2speakoften says: Oct 18, 2016 11:13 AM

    Solutions are always good to listen to. However, this helps 1 problem, but could hurt the overall product. Ratings are down every time slot. If they made the Sunday night game a guaranteed must watch game of the week, wouldn’t that drop viewers at the 1pm and 4pm games? Would people just start tuning in on Sunday night pregame and game to catch up on the non-interesting games played earlier and just watch the SNF game?

    As a working professional with season tickets, I would also hate the idea of my games getting moved to Sunday night. I would then have 6 days to sell my tickets to someone who doesn’t have to go to work on Monday. It would further drive my hatred for the NFL front offices and their greed and deception. The NFL has an image problem.

    The owners have abused the NFL offices and let them take too many political hits for bad decisions, that they look like they are run by the Three Stugges. Who else has employees make so many public plunders and no one loses their jobs? I mean they do not seem to be capable of getting video of anything but a ball boy going into the bathroom. It is obvious the front office is corrupt. They decide how they want something to play out, leak information to gain public support for their view, and then go after only data that supports their belief.

    Here is what you should be investigating today. Did the NFL tell the refs to throw more flags so the network can have more commercials to make up for the fact that they will make less $/commercial because the ratings are down?

  55. RegisHawk says: Oct 18, 2016 11:16 AM

    Bestest idea: Fire Collinsworth.

  56. arcross12042004scorp15 says: Oct 18, 2016 11:17 AM

    I travel to 2 Bills games a year with as,many as 16 people ( looking forward to Vegas )
    We start coordinating these games when the schedule comes out. I also live 4 hours from Buffalo, so since I work Monday mornings,
    I don’t go to night games.
    Changing the game times on short notice would be a hugh inconvenience.
    Attendance at some stadiums is already a problem. Start screwing over the fans who support the NFL and the problems will get worse.!

  57. jaymeister says: Oct 18, 2016 11:18 AM

    Too many commercials
    Too many talking heads that talk out of another part of their body
    Too many penalties
    Not enough good teams
    Too many very bad or mediocre QB’s

    Those are the problems. Screwing over ticket holders who might not be able to attend a game because it was flexed will do nothing it improve the NFL’s reputation.

  58. mmack66 says: Oct 18, 2016 11:18 AM

    How about opening up Sunday Ticket to everyone and streaming it from NFL.com?

    Get into the 20th Century already.

  59. Rdog says: Oct 18, 2016 11:20 AM

    pastabelly says:
    Oct 18, 2016 11:06 AM

    A lot of people take kids to 1 pm games and those night games are neither family nor kid friendly. Monday is still a school day. Most people I know just hate going to night games in any case. I’ll go to a game a year and like going when the weather is nice and at 1 pm.

    ——————————-

    Not sure what that has to do with TV ratings…

  60. mcdeez22 says: Oct 18, 2016 11:22 AM

    This is great. We need more ideas on how the NFL can generate more revenue. I feel so bad for them. They work so hard for our entertainment. It’s probably hard for them to feed their families.

    Football is a drug to which we are addicted. The NFL is the only dealer with good product. The poor addict would be unwise to suggest ideas to the rich dealer on how they can make more money.

  61. nygmoneyballers says: Oct 18, 2016 11:26 AM

    This is a great suggestion for TV fans.

    I hear the reservations from those attending in person but it is mostly a problem for out of town fans needing to schedule flights and hotels. For hometown fans it isn’t quite so bad and a week of notice is enough. Plus, wouldn’t it be nice to discourage those annoying out of town fans anyway???

  62. jaymeister says: Oct 18, 2016 11:27 AM

    How many times can you flex the Pats, Steelers, Cowboys or Packers to prime time before people get tired of it? Many of the other decent teams with winning records have regional interest at best. Or do we really thinks the Buffalo-Seattle game will be a big ratings boon, even if both teams continue to win? We’ll see since its in prime time.

  63. randomcommenter says: Oct 18, 2016 11:32 AM

    Allow teams to pratice again. The dropoff in play is dramatic and noticeable to even casual fans.

    Allow DBs to cover WRs again. It really hurt the game that they made it so easy to pass by changing the rules. There used to be a strategic balance between run and pass. Now everybody is in shotgun most of the time and runs are mostly draw plays.

    The games all look the same now. Shotgun, throw quick underneath or throw long jump ball. It all looks the same.

  64. ubb44 says: Oct 18, 2016 11:36 AM

    More coverage of spoiled uneducated athletes taking uninformed political stances might help the ratings.

  65. kabasaman says: Oct 18, 2016 11:39 AM

    It’s become a social event for the NFL. Every prime time game has to have all this hoop-la about how fantastic the NFL is. Not so much anymore. All the bull crap with the singing and the parading around like their some kind of Gods. Not Happening. The owners should wake up. Goddell has turned the league into some kind commercial enterprise and it’s Just Football. Too Much Money for a monopoly.

  66. bigbassdaddy says: Oct 18, 2016 11:39 AM

    Starting the prime-time games at 7:30 ET would certainly allow more working people (i.e. those with money) to watch them.

  67. purplepackerhater says: Oct 18, 2016 11:43 AM

    I think an easier solution would to simply not set the start times for games until 3-4 weeks before that week. So When schedules come out in march or whatever the teams would know who they play each week and when there bye is, but would only have the exact time of day set for the first 4 games. Then at the conclusion of Week 1’s Monday night’s game they release the week 5 times and do that every week. This way, fans have 4 weeks to change their travel plans if necessary to attend their games and the NFL doesn’t have to try and guess which teams are going to be relevant based upon the prior year’s success.

    If there’s pushback from the networks, let each network pick half a dozen games to lock-in each season.

    Thursday (should be gotten rid of) and Monday games may have to be exempted as well.

  68. sheilaspapa says: Oct 18, 2016 11:43 AM

    What about the fans that attend the games and pay good money for their seats. Flexing every game would be a logistics nightmare for those who actually pay and go to the games. Many go to games around their work schedule. What about those that get flexed out of their late game and have nonrefundable hotel rooms that wouldn’t be needed for a noon game. I know TV revenue is a huge portion of revenue for the NFL, but maybe think about the fans that pay to go to games also, they’re the reason the game is on TV in the first place.

  69. redclaw1314 says: Oct 18, 2016 11:44 AM

    Rating are not down becasue of political statements. Thats dumb. Ratings are down because of parity, concussions, Goodell and over saturation. Oh yeah and streaming (which I enjoy). The NFL knew this was coming this is why they want to expand globally to grow the league.
    I think the refs need to be interviewed after games like players. What good does it do to send the league a memo of a blown call after game is over. All PI calls should be reviewable.
    ___________________________
    The ratings decline is a combination of the factors that you mentioned, but I think that the political statements also have a major effect. Would like to see PFT run a poll.

  70. pastabelly says: Oct 18, 2016 11:44 AM

    Rdog says:
    Oct 18, 2016 11:20 AM
    pastabelly says:
    Oct 18, 2016 11:06 AM

    A lot of people take kids to 1 pm games and those night games are neither family nor kid friendly. Monday is still a school day. Most people I know just hate going to night games in any case. I’ll go to a game a year and like going when the weather is nice and at 1 pm.

    ——————————-

    Not sure what that has to do with TV ratings…
    ========================================

    My point is that this league, which does everything for tv ratings and making money, should focus on the fan, kids, and the fan experience. The current situation with flexing one game six days in advance is enough. Sorry that wasn’t clear enough for you.

  71. vottorific says: Oct 18, 2016 11:48 AM

    I can watch a game from a direct in less than 60 mins. No commercialsign, no penalties, no standing around. Just play after play after play. It’s all the commercials that turned me away, and oh yeah, stand for the dam anthem!

  72. 12coltsfan12 says: Oct 18, 2016 11:49 AM

    not fair. would basically be the Pats playing every Sunday night…

  73. borbinski says: Oct 18, 2016 11:50 AM

    another sign that TV money is so big, who cares about the fans that attend games and plan the hell out of tailgating, driving, parking, meeting friends.

  74. nyneal says: Oct 18, 2016 11:50 AM

    What should be done is get rid of Monday Night games, which have always been unfair to those of us living on the east coast, Thursday night games, which are horrible for the players and also unfair to those of us living on the east coast, get rid of the Sunday night games, which are also unfair to those of us who live on the east coast, and games played anywhere but the USA.

    The NFL should only play games on Sunday in the afternoon and early evening, and once the college football season is over, on Saturday afternoons as well.

    I’m glad to see the NFL ratings dropping because maybe the NFL will stop biting the hands of those who feed them — the tried and true fans.

  75. gromit45 says: Oct 18, 2016 11:52 AM

    I guess in hindsight you might say Packers-Cowboys was the game to put on SNF (I would’ve chose Seahawks/Falcons — in hindsight of course / or maybe Saints / Panthers).
    There’s just no way of know what will be a good game. Steelers / Patriots maybe great unless Pittsburgh plays like they did in Miami and then the game will be a dull blowout.

    A *good* game can potentially happen from any two teams.

  76. maiphatdong says: Oct 18, 2016 11:53 AM

    Im finding myself not watching other games, just the red zone, no commercials

  77. footballfan825 says: Oct 18, 2016 11:53 AM

    I still watch as many games as I can regardless of who’s playing. I hate the fact that the games look fixed. I can’t prove it, but not reviewing penalties is ridiculous. It wouldn’t make the game longer because a coach only has 2 challenges anyway. But so many teams EVERY WEEK get screwed because of poor officiating.

  78. saltineamerican says: Oct 18, 2016 11:53 AM

    Remove the politics from the NFL. There has to be a correlation, no matter how big or small, between the political bs shown before, during and after a game.

    Eliminate the Thursday night game. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. 6 days between games is great for the players and gives fans something to look forward to during the week.

    Either a pay per stream of mnf or the ability to stream the mnf game on some sort of free platform. There are those of us out there who cannot afford cable or dish but could afford $2.99 to stream an mnf game.

  79. leroyquimby says: Oct 18, 2016 12:01 PM

    1PM on a Sunday afternoon and 8:30PM on a Sunday Night makes a big difference for some people I’m sure

  80. bucsorbust says: Oct 18, 2016 12:08 PM

    Oh, well this is something we’ve all thought about. How to improve ratings? You bring the game back to the average Joe fans.
    – Put “RG” (for Roger Goodell) on every NFL uniform, like the left sleeve.
    – Double the price of tickets so most fans can only watch and dream of going to a game one day.
    – Make it illegal for any celebration whatsoever after a good play. High fives, dances, any jubilation is unsportsmanlike and must be banned.
    – Spend 15 minutes before every game letting invidual players come forward and make their own pitch for a social or political issue the see as important to tell us all about.
    – Increase the amount of commercials 50% to help break up the excitement and give fans more time to reflect on their consumer needs.

    Yeah, that will do it.

  81. brendafortheboyz says: Oct 18, 2016 12:10 PM

    “The ratings decline is a combination of the factors that you mentioned, but I think that the political statements also have a major effect. Would like to see PFT run a poll.”
    =========================
    redclaw1314
    I would love to see PFT run a poll!! However, I’m afraid the powers-that-be, would not be pleased with the results…….

  82. realfootballfan says: Oct 18, 2016 12:14 PM

    Stop putting on games that stink? But seriously, this is easy. They should never have created the Thursday games, and at this point, the parity in the league makes Monday night games a crap shoot to schedule in the spring. So why not flex games from a big pool of Sunday games after say week 7 or 8 to Sunday nights and Monday nights once the season starts? What would be the big difference if you flexed those games 2 weeks in advance? Teams would still not be at a competitive disadvantage, and it also makes sure the league isn’t doing stupid stuff like getting teams to play on Monday night and then fly across the country for an early Sunday game as you’d have multiple good matchups to choose from most weeks. The package would still be worth as much to the NFL because the ratings would be higher for better games even though you knock off the first half of the season of Monday night games. I know this would never happen because it makes more sense than trotting out bad games that no one is watching.

  83. immafubared says: Oct 18, 2016 12:24 PM

    I learned a long time ago to fix a problem you have to know what the problem is.
    The prolem is, too many week teams and match-ups no one wants to see but there on. You tell owner X your team sucks so you dont get prime time. Ya that aint flying.
    Solution, do this the first six weeks, thengo flex. If you team is doing great, a change to the evening to attend a top matchup will be more palatable and it wont be all season. Your team gets one flex at home. So you only get screwed once.
    We all win after week six. The lousy teams better get good in a hurry right?

  84. nathanp2013 says: Oct 18, 2016 12:29 PM

    At what point did the much vaunted rivalry of the NFC West Cardinals vs AFC East Jets seem like a good idea?

  85. richc111 says: Oct 18, 2016 12:31 PM

    I did a quick check. Attendance is up 4% over last year total so far this year. So I guess the fact that TV attendance is down maybe sez more about the media then the product. And MF you are right. That would help out the place you work. Pat on the back for that one.

  86. bleedingfacemask says: Oct 18, 2016 12:32 PM

    Where would the rescheduled teams play? Some stadiums are multipurpose, and may have another event scheduled. Some stadiums are right next to the baseball or basketball stadium, which could make for a logistical nightmare for commuters.

    There is also the favoritism: some owners won’t like having fewer or no Sunday Night games while another owner enjoys multiple games. Some of those owners will be quite vocal about it.

  87. ebdug says: Oct 18, 2016 12:36 PM

    Let the ratings rot. It’s our best chance to get rid of these cowardly owners. Believe me, they’ll bail, and we can replace them with owners who care about the game.

  88. coachglove says: Oct 18, 2016 1:10 PM

    Florio, I think you’re on the right track. I would be OK with scheduling the SNF game the first 2 weeks, then begin the flex concept you describe for week 3, deciding after week 1. That still gives you a shot at having a quality game, and gives NBC a little more lead time to plan the logistics. I would also kill the Thursday night games.

    We also need more consistency on start times. The prime time games all have to start no earlier than 8:30 Eastern, because apparently no one in the Pacific Time Zone owns a DVR and is deeply offended by games starting before then. But then we have London games that start at 2:30 London time, which is 6:30 AM Pacific. Why doesn’t the NFL think that is offensive to the Pacific Time Zone?

    Start all London games at 1:00 PM Eastern. Spread the Sunday day games out a little better – if we did manage to kill the Thursday debacles and have 14 games on Sunday, it’s OK to have 8 of them at 1:00 Eastern and 6 of them at 4:15. And start the prime time games at 7:30. I believe as many people on the West Coast have DVRs as the people on the East Coast, so there’s no harm in starting the games early enough so that people on the East Coast can watch the whole game without having to go to work on Monday / Tuesday morning on 5 hours sleep.

    I know the late start times & Thursday games are about making money. I’m a capitalist and am OK with that. But if you have a better product, and have the product available at times when everyone can enjoy the entire thing, your ratings will go back up and you can charge more for advertising. Everybody wins.
    __________________________________

    1) there are actual teams out here in the west, so 5:30 is as early as you can start a game and have even a remote chance of having a 1/3 full stadium on a Thurs or Mon night. All the west coast teams are in top 10 worst traffic in the US cities (outside of SD, which is likely top 25 worst)…so it isn’t about the DVR for those games. My understanding of the 5:30 time is that it caters to the local new stations who broadcast in that window. We on the board are generally football fans, much of America isn’t and would like to watch the local news at a decent hour on Sunday…so they need a break between the end of the final 4pm game and the start of the night game. Now, if they cut out 15 mins of commercials they could probably start the night game earlier with only a 30 min break.

    2) You can’t start London games at 1pm Eastern time without risking them being caught up in the noise of the rest of the games, which defeats the purpose of having it be a highlight game. That is definitely a game to set the DVR for, for those of us out west.

  89. coachglove says: Oct 18, 2016 1:18 PM

    Honestly, the fix seems rather simple…by Sunday night I am just kinda sick and tired of sitting around watching the same commercials over and over and over and over. If it isn’t my team playing, it is hard to justify watching anymore. This is also true of the Thursday night games. Honestly, football used to be an “event”. You wanted to gather with friends and watch some hard-hitting fun. Now, they have saturated the airwaves so much that it isn’t a special occasion anymore. If you miss one game, there are others. Combine that with commercial bombardment, stupid rules regarding not showing non-local games on other networks or in the counter time slot (10am for a local 1pm game) so people can’t watch a really good matchup. Add to that the fact that Sunday ticket is only available on DirecTV and the fact that I can easily stream the game and have it not count in ratings…you have a combination of factors. If the league made all games available via the NFL app and offered various subscription packages, they would probably see interest in that.

  90. captainwhodat says: Oct 18, 2016 1:23 PM

    redclaw1314 says: Sorry, but this proposal disregards the fans that actually attend the games….
    Sorry, NFL owners have not cared about the people who actually attend the games since the turn of the century…witness the SB50 (their biggest showcase) fiasco a couple of years ago in Dallas…

  91. mmack66 says: Oct 18, 2016 1:48 PM

    randomcommenter says:
    Oct 18, 2016 11:32 AM

    Allow teams to pratice again. The dropoff in play is dramatic and noticeable to even casual fans.
    ————————

    The League didn’t disallow practices. The players wanted less practices and put it in the CBA.

  92. grandstandrice says: Oct 18, 2016 2:04 PM

    I thought if you bought a ticket to an event it was supposed to start at the time stated on the ticket. Am I missing something?

  93. intrafinesse says: Oct 18, 2016 2:20 PM

    Do what I do:

    I DVR the games that are broadcast where I live. I turn them on well after the game has started and fast forward through the commercials and time outs, and some of the dead time between plays.
    It shortens the games to 1:30.

  94. mmack66 says: Oct 18, 2016 2:28 PM

    immafubared says:
    Oct 18, 2016 12:24 PM

    You tell owner X your team sucks so you dont get prime time.
    ————————

    It used to be like that back when MNF was the only primetime game.

    Now they have 3 primetime games to fill, and a bunch of bad teams, and it it ain’t working.

  95. mmack66 says: Oct 18, 2016 2:33 PM

    grandstandrice says:
    Oct 18, 2016 2:04 PM

    I thought if you bought a ticket to an event it was supposed to start at the time stated on the ticket. Am I missing something?
    ——————–

    The NFL was granted Sovereign Nation status over the summer by a couple of Federal judges that chose to shirk their responsibilities.

    They can pretty much do what they want.

  96. skins99 says: Oct 18, 2016 2:34 PM

    Maybe tell the refs that people have better things to do than watch them calling ticky-tack penalties on every play of the game. Game last night was un-watchable pretty much because of the refs.

  97. eaglesnoles05 says: Oct 18, 2016 2:55 PM

    I’ll tell ya the truth– The shows on HBO on sunday nights are way too good for me to watch a third 3.5 hr stretch of officials deciding football games. So that’s why my primetime viewing has dipped.

  98. kmartin173 says: Oct 18, 2016 3:15 PM

    Here’s an idea, cut loose any fool who disrespects our country on the owner’s time, publicly apologize for those idiots ans assure people that it won’t happen again.

    Ratings will be back in no time.

  99. rugolin says: Oct 18, 2016 3:30 PM

    How about a simpler and more elegant solution. Just stop Monday,Thursday and Sunday night games and just make it Sunday afternoon and that’s it. Stop trying to milk the ratings to the last drop and let Sunday afternoon be the event and people can go on to doing the million other things that are available now. It seem to work boffo for Game of Thrones and Westworld having one new show on one Sunday night.

  100. rcali says: Oct 18, 2016 3:35 PM

    How about every quarter you allow one beat down by an armed forces personnel on any NFL Employee Anti-America protester. This might bring me, my family, and friends back to caring again about the NFL.

  101. NHL94 says: Oct 18, 2016 4:00 PM

    Fix the catch rule.

  102. richabbs says: Oct 18, 2016 6:10 PM

    Get rid of Sunday night and Thursday night football (except on Thanksgiving). Only put division rivalry games on Monday nights and put two games on every week (east coast start at 7:30 and west coast start at 10). Stop calling penalties on celebrations and taunting. Also stop calling penalties on illegal shifts (let teams line up any way they want).

  103. Ferdinand says: Oct 18, 2016 7:35 PM

    It certainly doesn’t help matters that so many games are shown exclusively on pay channels at a time when people are leaving pay tv in droves.

    They also haven’t figured out how to deliver streaming reliably or in a manner where they could accurately account for ‘ratings equivalency”.

    And then there is the disastrous color rush money grab that just hurts the eyes to even watch.

  104. 2dat says: Oct 18, 2016 9:37 PM

    A big problem is that many fans believe the games are rigged and/or the refs inconsistent or just incompetent.

    Look at the Richard Sherman play. Sherman is a smart guy. He knew the refs would be less inclined to call a 40 yard PI against the home team at the end of a tight game, so he mugged Julio Jones and got away with it. That game may determine home field in January (just like the Fail Mary, which cost the Packers a first round bye in 2012). Most fans find that annoying. The league needs to do something to prevent scenarios such as that.

    Never mind the Fact that Julio Jones, Head Slapped Sherman at the snap and that wasn’t called either. In Sunday’s Saints / Panthers game there was a Bogus P.I. CALLED on Kenny Vacarro which Esentially gave the Panthers 7 points and allowed them back into the game. The Players on the Field should decide the outcome of the game, NOT THE ZEBRAS

  105. bricketh says: Oct 18, 2016 9:42 PM

    You could do it with 2 weeks lead time. You schedule games on the first two Sundays that you think will be good, but start adjusting Week 3’s game after Week 1, Week 4’s game after Week 2 and so on. This will allow you to get to the point where the best games are on by weeks 5 and beyond, even if the earlier games end up being sub par.

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