NFL ratings will likely go up, not down, this weekend


On December 26, 2010, when the NFL decided to move the Vikings-Eagles game from Sunday night to Tuesday night in the face of an impending blizzard, I asked NFL spokesman Greg Aiello if the league is having second thoughts about scheduling a Super Bowl for an open-air stadium in New Jersey.  Aiello said, “No.  We are the ultimate reality show.”

And here’s the thing about really good reality shows:  People want to watch them.

So at a time when some are grumbling about not watching games until the lockout ends, the reality is that more will watch.  Under Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ theory that no publicity is bad publicity as long as they spell your name right, the intense coverage in the wake of Monday night’s Seahawks-Packers game will draw folks to the game who would otherwise be inclined only to watch the Super Bowl and/or Tim Tebow.

Given the size of the story, folks will want to witness the next major blunder about which everyone will be talking.  And that’s particularly good news for the games broadcast to the largest national audiences:  the three prime-time games per week and the main 4:25 p.m. ET game on Sunday afternoon.

The league also benefits from the fact that the anger is directed to the league office, and not to the individual teams, even though the league is the teams and the teams are the league.  If fans hang in there when their favorite team suffers a major injury to a key player, there’s no reason to turn away now — especially since the next major officiating screwup may benefit their favorite team.

That’s the point many continue to overlook.  A bad call hurts one team and helps another.  Seahawks fans aren’t complaining about what happened Monday night.  The next time the replacements screw up — and screw up they will — another team necessarily will benefit.

Bottom line?  This all makes the NFL more interesting, not less interesting.  And that will be very good for the bottom line.

43 responses to “NFL ratings will likely go up, not down, this weekend

  1. In the end, I’d rather be the Packers having lost a game like this than the Seahawks having won a game like this. Noone will see or talk about the Seahawks for the rest of the year without thinking about them running around and jumping up and down like high school girls after having been gifted a game, Pete Carroll’s classlessness and “good call” nonsense, and anything they accomplish this year will have an asterisk by it in everyone’s mind but their own.

  2. The players must not realize that they hold all the power. Refuse to play another down until the real refs are back and see how fast a deal will be done.

  3. That wasn’t the first bad call and it won’t be the last. Regular officials made terrible calls all the time. At least the league is trying to fix it and inject some accountability. I’m OK with the process as long as it brings improvement.

  4. There should be a boycott by the fans of all products of the NFL’s commercial partners. And boycott any company seen advertising on TV during games.

  5. Researcher: The average radio listener listens for eighteen minutes. The average Howard Stern fan listens for – are you ready for this? – an hour and twenty minutes.
    Pig Vomit: How can that be?
    Researcher: Answer most commonly given? “I want to see what he’ll say next.”
    Pig Vomit: Okay, fine. But what about the people who hate Stern?
    Researcher: Good point. The average Stern hater listens for two and a half hours a day.
    Pig Vomit: But… if they hate him, why do they listen?
    Researcher: Most common answer? “I want to see what he’ll say next.”

  6. The NFL may get a bump in ratings this weekend and maybe even for some weeks after, but there’s no way these calls are good for the league’s brand in the long run. They risk alienating some loyal fans by trying to attract the fringe ones who are only interested in seeing refs screw up.

  7. I say we boycott the Thursday Night Game to make a point. Gonna be a boring game anyway. Not really any fantasy players going besides Rice and Ravens Defense. Unless you got busted ass team. Dig it.

  8. Just goes to show the NFL is entertainment masquerading as a sport. The entertainment value is what counts.

  9. The owners have really set themselves up nicely. Everyone wants either Goodell’s head (or the ref association’s), but even though Goodell is part of the problem, aren’t the owners allowing him to do this? Aren’t they the ones who are ultimately in charge? But I only see Goodell SUCKS comments. The owner of our favorite team is allowing this to happen and giving Goodell the cudgel to enact it.

  10. Probably true but this gets the NFL closer to professional wrestling where it is more about drama than sport. When we start watching games to see if a coach or player blows up on a ref instead of watching to see how a QB and OC handle the defense’s two deep safeties then it is a sad day.

  11. What goes around comes around. It’s called Karma.

    Seriously though, would anyone really care if this had happened to the Dolphins and the Jaguars? Would anyone have even seen it?

  12. Its clear the players have lost all respect for the replacements, as have the fans.

    If the refs cannot control the games this is going to get even uglier.

    I feel sorry for the replacements working the Packers-Saints game at Lambeau on Sunday.

  13. Look, stop it already with the boycott talk. While it would be ignorant to speak for each person, I’ll instead point to fans of the sport, myself included. No one denies the clusterfudge of MNF or any of the other officiating blunders of the last three weeks. But if anyone believes that fans will stay away, won’t watch football, won’t continue to attend games…well, pass me the bathsalts because if anything more people will be watching as the weeks pass.

    With the amount of rancor directed towards the scab refs, it’s enough to now attract the curious causal fan who may only watch a couple games a season or just the Super Bowl to see if anything else controversial takes place on the field. This is why the NFL won’t cave to the real refs until the majority of what is being offered in their proposal is accepted; ratings will not decrease, no one is going anywhere, and football, both real and fantasy will remain as popular as ever. Thumbs down if you’d like to, but pay attention as the weeks pass, regardless of whatever more and more games are blown or if the scabs remain, the fans aren’t going anywhere, advertisers won’t go anywhere and the worst thing we’ll do is save up some strength to boo the heck out of Goodell come draft time. Watch and see.

  14. This is exactly the same way the normal refs called the last controverial simultaneous possession call – last September between Miles Austin and Antonio Cromartie – its on Youtube.

    Cromartie caught the ball mid-air, and afterwards Austin extended his hands to wrap around the ball while Cromartie clutched it to his chest. They fell into the end zone and rolled around and fought for it. Austin ultimately ripped it from Cromartie’s grasp. It was ruled simultaneous possession and a TD for Austin.

    Exactly the same as this one – to say the normal refs would call it different is to deny your own eyeballs.

  15. If the fans really cared about the product on the field they would do something about it. They are paying the high prices to see the games and eat at the concessions and then getting replacement refs. The NFL does not care about the fan. The only thing they care about is getting every last penny from the fan. What the fans should do is have everyone of them walk out on the field and stop the game and protest. Do it every week until the NFL changes its tune and they would.

  16. Yeah, they want to watch reality shows because they’re an orgy of human suffering and they want to feel better about themselves. They watch the NFL because it’s competition and strategy. These are two different things.

    Unfortunately the NFL is becoming more like the former and less like the latter ATM. 😉

    That said, I am thinking about canceling my GamePass until the officials come back. I’d been feeling conflicted about watching, but the league’s response shows that until we’re costing them money they’re not going to cave.

  17. Packers are so used to calls going their way so they are very bitter. LMFAO Every team has replacement refs in their games. Lots of bad and missed calls. Just play well and your chances of a win are much greater.

  18. I think the games have been great. And one play can’t decide the outcome of the game Green Bay had plenty of chances to put Seattle away they didn’t and paid the price for it. I think on average an offense runs 60-65 plays you should have taken care of business when you had your chance. And to say Seattle didn’t win is crazy they played 60 just like Green Bay what makes Mr. lang think he is so entitled

  19. This article makes for an excellent point. Sure, casual fans like posters on here may not tune in as a sign of protesting, but how many journalists, comedians, public figures/politicians, and other fans who don’t normally watch football every week will now tune in for the next big blunder. The NFL will pull in even higher TV ratings than it had before thanks to this exposure, so even though it looks bad from a PR perspective, the league still wins. Which also means the league still doesn’t have any motivation to negotiate with the regular refs on a new labor deal.

  20. Women, teen agers and metrosexual males like the drama of reality TV dude. The sports minded guys that account for 80% of the NFL audience don’t watch it for the ‘drama’ of moronic officials blowing games. It makes it less enjoyable to watch. Games are getting drawn out an additional 30 minutes more while these idiots stumble all over each other.

    Ratings are not going to go up.

  21. @nokoo… well said! No one in their right mind is actually going to not watch football. It’s our passion. We love the drama it brings week in and week out. But now watching it’s a matter of seeing just how big the poor refs will miss calls. It’s nothing personal against the refs themselves as people but against Goodell and the owners. I mean really…?? $100,00 per team is really the big difference. Geez. Add an extra dollar to all team apparel, add a dollar to the already crazy beer prices and get on with it already. NFL just looks like a monkey organization right now.

  22. Finally, reasonable comments from Florio about the Refs, sadly lost on most of the commentators on here: 1. The bad calls even out over the season (just like with “real” Refs, and 2. The game has been more interesting in many ways, more real and more entertaining.

  23. Mp4pack, just be grateful everyone will forget the absolute mauling of Rodgers in the first half, I agree the call was bogus, most fans I know clearly see we got a lucky call and our real concern is how the hell we are gonna get our pass offense going.. Get over it dude

  24. To take this a step further not only are Seahawk fans not complaining but neither are Bears, Lions, or Vikings fans. The NFC North fans can all agree it was a bad call but no one goes up in arms when their rivals get screwed. It was a bad call……. bummer

  25. ” The next time the replacements screw up — and screw up they will — another team necessarily will benefit.”

    So… what about the next time the REAL officials screw up?

  26. I will be enjoying Sundays on the golf course until this crap is resolved. The games are unwatchable anyways. I can’t sit through 20+ penalities w/out wanting to throw my remote through the TV. If I kept watching at some point I’m sure I would. The “commish” Rog is a clown who has zero integrity. I’m actually looking forward to spending my Sunday’s with the boys on the course not watching the steady downward spiral of the NFL. We won’t be drinking Coors Light either. I only wish I didn’t do fantasy this year but I will have to keep up with that because I already paid, unfortunately. This clown refs are even affecting that. Sad, sad day.

  27. So what you are telling me is the NFL is now the Kardashians. Wow really glad the NFL cares about the integrity of the game.

  28. You are probably right, but I won’t be watching any games. There’s nothing else I can do to express my dissatisfaction and I’m going to do it.

  29. While it may be “good” in the short term to attract more attention and viewers, I can promise you that the long term implications will not be favorable. The NFL is more concerned with the casual fan who will tune in for the entertainment product rather than its diehard, long term fans who have invested financially and emotionally in the game and that is a really shortsighted strategy that will come back to haunt the owners.

    A part of me thinks that Goodell and the owners must be mortified about about what a sham these first 3 weeks have been; the other part of me thinks that they are of the Jerry Jones mentality that any publicity is good publicity, and that is what disturbs me the most.

    I am not going to lie and say I will not watch any games this weekend – I will. But other than my favorite team, I am sure as hell a lot quicker to change the channel or take the dog for a walk during what used to be a sacred, football only timeframe. I went to 6 NFL games last year but I have not and will not be purchasing tickets to any games until real refs are back on the field.

  30. @suckmyhawk2012 I’ll be praying for the same thing to happen to the Seahawks somewhere down the line, I’m fascinated to see how well Seahawks fans heed their own advice and just “get over it”.

  31. Short term, yes! But most reality tv becomes boring and irritating after a while. I think if the NFL keeps these replacements the sponsors will say the same thing. Goodbye Bud Light, hello Pabts!

  32. I’ve been watching football since 1983. This is the first time in that span where I have been totally numb to the idea of football and where my emotional stake in this great game has been reduced to a shrug.

    I cannot continue to invest my time or money into a sport where the competitive nature has marginalized by the inconsistent and generally poor decision making of people not qualified to do their job.

    The only way to show my disgust is to tune out and put the NFL on the shelf — I refuse to participate in car wreck mentality. And these are not words of anger, but rather, words of indifference. Goodell and company have effectively made me….NOT CARE.

    And while I know that my actions will change nothing, at least I can look at myself and know I did my small part to say enough is enough..

  33. I won’t be watching. I cancelled the Sunday Ticket and will go back to watching only the one team I follow. I am tired of watching this trainwreck the league has turned into.

  34. henson58 says:Sep 26, 2012 9:20 AM

    I think the games have been great. And one play can’t decide the outcome of the game Green Bay had plenty of chances to put Seattle away they didn’t and paid the price for it. I think on average an offense runs 60-65 plays you should have taken care of business when you had your chance. And to say Seattle didn’t win is crazy they played 60 just like Green Bay what makes Mr. lang think he is so entitled

    You are right one play did not decide the game. The patethetic call against Shields for pass interference when he was the one that got mauled was another play. And don’t forget the terrible “roughing the passer” penalty that started the drive and took away Jennings first interception.

  35. Well, since any publicity is good publicity, I hope Jerry and his ‘boys’ get the same officiating crew from this passed Monday, and they make a major mistake like they did in that game. Then lets see Jerry blithely blow it off, as he did this week with the “inaccurate reception” call!

  36. the seahawks worked hard in the first half with 8 sacks to rodgers how can you say this game was gifted to them they earned it stop talking about this game so much as if it were some other team there would not be so much publicity I bet if the vikings were in the same shoes as the packers which they were in 2010 when the packers took 2 our our touchdowns away look it up and we lost the game so enough about the packers poor loss they should have tried harder to win that game and those touchdowns were legit and the regular refs took them away from the vikings read it and suck it up packer fans see it hurts when it happens to your team and I am sure other teams can say the same thing about that enough said next game
    skol vikings

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