Ratings still shrinking

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After seven weeks, the NFL has a problem. Whether the league wants it acknowledge it publicly or privately or will try to minimize it with damage-control doublespeak (“we don’t have fewer viewers, the same viewers are viewing less“), the NFL has a problem.

Ratings are down, every week in nearly every broadcasting window.

For Week Seven, the 9.4 overnight rating for the Bears-Packers game reflected an 18.2-percent drop from the Week Seven TNF game in 2015, a 20-3 win by the Seahawks over the 49ers. The Sunday night game between the Seahawks and Cardinals dropped by 15 percent from last year’s Eagles-Panthers game, with an 11.6 rating.

The Sunday late-afternoon window, which has for the most part been performing better than prime-time games, also was down sharply, with a 13.2-percent drop in the Patriots-Steelers game on CBS in 2016 and the Week Seven 2015 game between the Cowboys and Giants.

Plenty of potential reasons have been identified for the decline, but perhaps the simplest is that too many games (especially in prime time) lack real excitement, in part because they lack scoring. When the Seahawks and Cardinals are engaged in a punt-fest deadlocked (emphasis on the dead) 3-0 at halftime, who wouldn’t give in to the strong temptation to change the channel and/or go do something else for an hour or so, or long? It quickly became clear on Sunday night that it made sense to check out until 11:15 p.m. ET, or to check out for good.

No one cares about a game that has six total points scored through 60 minutes of action. Four decades ago, the NFL realized that 38-35 was much more exciting than 13-9, which prompted the league to make a series of rules changes aimed at infusing more offense into the game. Which led to more score and more excitement and eventually fueled the rise of fantasy football.

The challenge for the league, beyond cultivating more stars (by, you know, embracing their individuality and not suppressing it), developing more talent (especially at quarterback), and picking better games for prime-time programming, becomes finding a way to make football exciting again. Currently, not nearly enough people think it is.

And before anyone at 345 Park Avenue starts percolating possibilities for tweaking the rules in order to light up scoreboards, here’s hoping that all potential unintended consequences will be fully considered. Because if the NFL’s notion for pumping nitrous oxide into offenses has the same impact as that bright idea for reducing kickoff returns, there will be more snore-inducing defensive struggles in the future.

231 responses to “Ratings still shrinking

  1. They could be true.

    I’m not watching as much.

    Commercials and officiating delays top the list along with less than good match ups.

  2. I think the biggest problem is the loss of faith and frustration in the officiating. I’m down to watching 1 game a week and might even stop all together largely based on the horrible officiating. It’s the same reason I stopped watching boxing years ago, it just feels like the fix is in.
    Without major changes in officiating I fear the league is dying.

  3. I may be in the minority here. I do prefer lower scoring games than arena league type scores. If there’s too much scoring then it minimizes the value of a score. The lies and corruption from the NFL office is probably the main reason for the lower viewership.

  4. Not surprised. I grew up a huge NFL fan, nowadays if it’s not my team playing I just have no interest

  5. Let’s be brutally honest here. The product isn’t as good but it’s still decent. What fans are ticked about is the anti-patriotic sentiment and the ungratefulness that players are presenting. They’re not representing the NFL or their teams well and the NFL is too politically correct to say, “You are an employee and representing the league. Cut the crap.”

    The longer this goes on, the worse it’s going to affect the bottom line and reputation of the league.

  6. I watch bits of pieces of every game. It’s the new ADHD/Twitter/Redzone/Netflix/streaming/online gif mentality. It’s impossible to miss the action and now I can miss the commercials and not be chained to my couch for 9 hours a Sunday.

  7. Player salaries will start to take a hit. The little guys will be the first to feel the squeeze. The billionaire owners will make sure it isn’t coming out of their pockets.

  8. The NFL needs to stop screwing around with the rulebook. One of the reasons I’ve lost interest is that it has become impossible to compare current players to former players because the game has been fundamentally altered by the idiots on the Competition Committee.

  9. It’s the glut of commercials I tell you. NFL games have become like talk shows and morning news shows — a few morsels of entertainment sprinkled in between the ads. Today’s consumer with quick and ready access to other forms of entertainment ain’t gonna stand for that. Business people’s greed tends to water down the product while asking more for it, and that’s how it falls out of favor.

  10. 31% of the teams in the league have a 5+ year playoff drought. 40% of those teams haven’t been to the playoffs in 10+ years. When a third of your league can’t put a good product on the field for a long time people lose interest.

  11. My favorite is the score, drawn out review (maybe with its own commercial break), extra point, commercial break, kickoff with no return, commercial break. Ten minutes

  12. You’re underestimating the effect of the players kneeling during the anthem.

    You also can’t ignore the elephant in the room…the officiating is controlling too many games. The rules are often ambiguous and enforcement changes week to week.

    Yes you are definitely correct about the horrendous quarterbacking, and you can throw coaching in there as well.

  13. College football is more fun. More zone read option, faster offenses, even a few triple option teams that are a blast to watch (go navy, beat army). The NFL is too slow, too many interruptions and way way way too many comercials. It’s just not that interesting anymore.

  14. It’s the commercials. Not just the number of commercials, though there are too many. But last night’s SNF game was overrun with various video game ads which are always violent, scary, gory, disturbing, pick your adjective. Then there are the prescription drug ads, ugly in a different way. America doesn’t need to see that crap.

  15. I watched the Pats and the Saints this week. But sadly my buffet of games provided by cable, once again, blew arse.

    (CBS) Raiders @ Jags….
    (FOX) Saints @ Chiefs….

    Three pm:
    (CBS) Pats @ Steelers….

    Seven pm:
    (NBC) Seahawks @ Cardinals….

    And to top it off: I got to listen to my Skins lose to Matt Stafford, (noon game) in the waning minute of the game, via ESPN 980 online radio broadcast.

    So yeah – I can certainly say that my viewership is in decline. I never get to watch my favorite team play on TV, so I just play video games and listen to my favorite team’s radio broadcast, instead of watching FOX, CBS or NBC.

  16. This is such a stupid narrative. People haven’t all of the sudden decided they don’t like football. There are a thousand different ways to watch the games, we have a crazy election going on, baseball is having a historic run with the Cubs, and The Red Zone is an entirely new and really fun way to watch the games on Sunday. By the end of the season the ratings will be back up and this will be forgotten.

  17. This is such a stupid narrative. People haven’t all of the sudden decided they don’t like football. There are a thousand different ways to watch the games, we have a crazy election going on, baseball is having a historic run with the Cubs, and The Red Zone is an entirely new and really fun way to watch the games on Sunday. By the end of the season the ratings will be back up and this will be forgotten.

  18. …or perhaps the product on the field isn’t worth the effort to decipher anymore with the many worlds interpretation of what is considered a catch. Or the endless rules and variants of said rules which result in endless penalties. It disrupts the rhythm of the games. I’m not interested in watching the Referees get air time and I shouldn’t sit there wondering week to week wondering if Jermome Boger is going to turn up at the game I am watching….or have to watch players grovel like Pavlov’s dog for the refs to throw flags so they can feel justified in not actually making a catch and earning their yards. Without Fantasy Football, I suspect the ratings would be even worse as the product is over regulated and not that much fun to watch anymore.

  19. More scoring is not more exciting. Please don’t neuter defenses any further.
    I used to watch 3-4 games per week, now I’m down to one and it’s very clear why:
    – availability of content has backfired. It used to be that i had to watch as many games as I could to see other teams, players and exciting plays. Today I get a buzz on my phone and can instantly watch a 30second clip of the play that just happened without sitting through 2 hours of car commercials.
    – officiating and rules on and off the field are a mess. I used to pride myself in calling penalties before a ref announced them; today I honest can’t tell you what makes a catch, and I’m sick of the inconsistent witch hunts the nfl goes on during the week one second promoting a “star” as a role model to kids then investigating them for PEDs the next. Or fining someone $24k for taking off a helmet versus $7k for trying to seriously injure another player.

  20. One possible reason – at least among many of my peers – is that they are more interested in fantasy implications of players from different teams and not necessarily devoted to one team. When you’re only cheering for your favorite team, most fans will watch the game for its entirety, but if you’re only interested in how your fantasy players are doing, you’re more likely to channel surf/watch the redzone/do something else and check your scores online.

    To me, this is just a problem the NFL created for itself by focusing on the fantasy aspect of the game and less on support for particular teams.

  21. Last sunday night has been a great game. What stupid analysis is 13-9 is worst than 38-35? This is crap. The real problem is there are too many rules, sometimes idiotic, like the penalties for celebrating.
    Great defenses has been as funny to see as great offenses. The NFL needs to cut penalties for celebrating and the ones for hitting a defenseless receiver.

  22. Meh. As a fan of the game of football, I enjoy watching great defense as much or more as watching offensive fireworks. The NFL has a number of issues, but defense isn’t one of them.

  23. I like low scoring games due to defense. I do not like low scoring games due to inept offensive players. There is a difference.

  24. For me at least:

    1. Too many commercials.

    2. No Fun League. No celebrations, no individuality.

    3. Penalties are out of hand.

    4. Lack of variety in teams and tactics. Everyone tries the same thing with different degrees of success.

  25. The game last night was great. There just wasn’t scoring. But it was far from boring.

    There were some amazing hits (clean hits too!) and some great tackling. If there was a problem, it’s that every time there was a gain, there was some slight hold or extended arm that caused the play to move back 5-15 yards.

    The penalties really make it hard to get into the flow of a game. But there were zero problems with the product on the field last night as far as the teams were concerned. That was beautiful football.

  26. It’s simple, all these defensive holding calls, PI calls that was implemented in 2014 as a point of emphasis to increase scoring has ruined the NFL. Not to mention all the player safety rules where you can’t hit anymore, these rules have just created horrible calls that are game changers.

  27. It’s not that the NFL isn’t putting out a good product it just that the product it’s presenting isn’t really as good as it has been in the past or could be.

  28. people keep talking about officiating, protests, etc etc… why aren’t people talking about the real problem and that is most of the league just sucks right now. the quality is just not there and shows in these mediocre matchups we have week in and week out now. There are 16 teams with records over .500 but how many of them are legitimate over .500 team? I’d say 4, maybe 5.

  29. I don’t know why the ratings are down but I know this:

    goodell as usual was an idiot when he encouraged his players to voice their opinions in the Colin Kapernick fashion

    the dude should keep his mouth shut at all times

    really the game used to sell itself and then this guy comes in and tries to take credit for a game that was invented and played years before his sorry self came along

    I have no respect for the owners for employing the clown

  30. Lousy officiating…a rule book nobody can understand (what constitutes a catch again???) too many mind-numbing commercials…too much player hot-dogging…and an over exposed product which, in many markets is sub-par for sure. Am I really going to sit thru another miserable performance by the Chicago Bears who are OUT OF CONTENTION ALREADY…I don’t think so – too many other options available.

  31. The elite quarterback in this league are few and far between. That’s what people want to see when they watch games that don’t involve their own teams. Titans vs Jaguars on Thursday night? LOL, please. The two scrub qb’s playing tonight in Denver? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ……………

  32. Too little about playing football, and too much about players off field issues and crimes. Too much about what players think and say when all we want them to do is shut up and play. Too much about how the NFL isn’t punishing enough, is punishing too much, or that Goodell thinks he’s god.

    Maybe it should shrink, players should make less money and remember that they only play a game and they aren’t any better than the fans.

  33. I hear Jonathon Kraft and jerry Jones had a heated exchange at the owners meeting. About the NFL’s social media policy. The cracks are starting to show. The empire is falling. Well done Mr Goodell, well done indeed. Greed. It eventually ruins all that it touches.

  34. I didn’t watch the early games Sunday but every time I flipped the channel to check the score during those games….a commercial was on…every single time!

    Wow, surprised florio failed to mention the black panther t-shirt wearing Kapernick as a potential cause for the ratings drop…that was sarcasm because I know he and NFL believe THAT has nothing to do with the ratings drop!!

  35. These days I only watch my team, and even that’s getting harder and harder to enjoy.

    Mostly I’m just tired of seeing flags on every other play. Especially huge calls like pass interference which often seem to directly lead to points being scored. Unless the penalty is egregious it shouldn’t be called. These ticky-tack calls constantly giving offenses first downs for mediocre play just makes it frustrating to watch.

    Higher scoring games isn’t the answer if it means more penalties to artificially keep drives alive.

  36. Want ratings to come back ??

    Give the fans better football.

    You know how we get better football ?Get rid of Thursdays, Sunday Nights and that stupid European games….

    Everybody here LOVES football, but we don’t need it every night of the week, and the players can’t play games with 3 days rest.

    Do that..and people will watch again.

  37. I’m a believer that the officiating is a large part of the problem. The commercials would be tolerable without the constant yellow blizzard that start them. I watched my first Triplette game this year yesterday and it was excruciating.
    They needed to huddle up for 5 minutes to figure out what to do when an onside kick went out of bounds for crying out loud. It took 3 1/2 hours to get in 60 minutes of football.
    That’s idiotic.

  38. Moving the Rams did not improve viewership in LA (the Raiders winning games is improving viewship in LA). How is viewership in St Louis?
    Report on attendance this weekend at the Colesium.

  39. the only thing we love more in this country than to build something up is to tear it down.

  40. Pats-Steelers yesterday…..video review…. go to commercial. Next play…punt….go to commercial. Then turnover….go to commercial. Four actual plays………12 commercials.
    English soccer has won me over…..90-95 minutes of 1 stop action and the contest is over after 110 minutes….verses the NFL’s 100+ marketing opportunities and a few football plays now ….210 minutes of boredom/crap football, bad reffing…..inept broadcasting

  41. I’m sure the number of commercials has stayed the same, 10 per half. It’s my tolerance for that level of commercials that has declined. I am very likely to change the channel if there are multiple commercial breaks stacked like they do after a score and then after the following kickoff. I could miss several drives before flipping back.

    If they could reduce the number of commercial breaks and commercials shown during each break to two minutes. And they to keep revenue steady, charge more. That might work.

    Also, anything to speed up the games. I would rather have an unofficiated brawl than watch Jerome Boger’s crew throw 85 flags.

  42. I was looking forward to last nights game. At halftime I was on Facebook and never looked back. That game was hot garbage and simply unwatchable. The Pats/Steelers would have been a good draw but Ben was hurt and any fan with half a brain knew there was no way The Pats were gonna lose that one.

  43. I don’t think the quality of officiating has gone down…much; the quality of TVs have gone up to the point where everybody thinks they’re an expert at 1/10th speed looking at UHD.

    Officials have to keep track of way too much during games because the league keeps parsing the rules to accommodate the howling of armchair fantasy managers.

    It’s a $10B+ industry…perhaps it’s time to hire full-time officials instead of beating on guys who have other jobs half the year.

  44. And of course, we’ll all continue to pretend that the protests have had no effect. When you spend decades marketing football as America’s Sport, and then expect the red blooded American male to completely disregard some of your biggest stars protesting America, you are delusional to think they will stay by your side. The NFL has been battered by image problems from off field incidents, and then they think that the same players who benefit from lenient justice systems protesting injustice will be a non-issue. Rich.

  45. The low score is what kept me watching last night. Those type of games are super exciting and too far and in between nowadays. Knowing one big play could change the game makes each snap exciting. Good old defensive battle.

  46. That Seahawks/Cardinals taffy pull last night was the last thing the league needed. Not only was it a baseball score, the game was played at a baseball pace.

  47. I think the NFL has done enough in terms of tweaking the game to make them more high scoring.

    The reason’s I’m not watching as much are:

    1. There is no game flow with the amount of reviews, penalties, and time-outs. The amount of starting and stopping doesnt let me get invested in the game.

    2. The N0-Fun-League. The NBA’s stars have personalities and have fun. NFL fines their stars for cleats and celebrations.

    3. Game quality. Why would I watch Jacksonville-Tenessee? Why would I wake up at 9am to watch Jaguars Colts? Why should I waste my Monday Night on Bucs- Panthers?

  48. Due to the plethora of commercials and flags, and the length of the challenges, I have been recording my team’s game and skipping all the non-football action. It brings the game into a much more manageable timeframe.

    I do admit, it’s extremely hard to not hear anything about the game – have to stay off social media and not talk to anyone when I leave the house. The tradeoff is worth it though – too many commercials!

  49. PAT….commercial….Touchback….commercial….Off-tackle for -1 yards/end of quarter….commercial….Coaches challenge….commercial….Injury timeout….commercial….19 minutes of my life for :26 seconds worth of football….

  50. players need to see the protests have bothered the customer and that will lead to lower salaries

    I used to like to see players get big bucks but now I want to see make a lot less and have to practice much harder and longer

  51. “The Red Zone is an entirely new and really fun way to watch the games on Sunday. ”

    The Red Zone has been around since 2009. One thing we can be absolutely sure of is that The Red Zone Channel is not the issue.

  52. I actually timed the second quarter of the Thursday Night game between Chicago and Green Bay to see how long we had in commercial breaks. The quarter is 15 minutes – we had 19 minutes and 18 seconds of commercials.

    NFL games have turned into commercials and flags.

    I almost cannot watch a normal NFL game – the Red Zone channel is the only way to go and no, I am not a fantasy football player.

  53. Does anyone else wish instant replay was never invented or that camera’s can zoom in, in super slow motion hi def? There’s no way we can say with any certainty what was or wasn’t a TD, in or out of bounds, a catch or not a catch, a penalty or not, or any other questionable call that came before instant replay. I dare say in hindsight it just may be the single biggest reason football is dying a slow death. I welcome thoughts on this.

  54. Thursday Night football is unwatchable. Last week felt like the most commercials I had ever seen in a game. Not just commercials, but all the CBS promos that get shoehorned in between plays.

    Example, in the 4th quarter you could see Jake Ryan get rolled up at the end of a play, and it looked pretty bad. However, they quickly cut away for CBS show promo, which took almost until the next snap was made. Ryan was injured and out for the rest of the game. No mention of it ever, and no replay ever shown.

    It almost feels like they are cramming more commercials in to compensate for the downturn in viewership. Well that and I’m sure the game being “free” on twitter contributes to the ad onslaught as well.

  55. Football ratings are still insanely high, even if they are down from last year. Any other sport would kill for these ratings. The sky isn’t falling for these owners or networks. Plus regional ratings have remained pretty much the same – that should be telling.

  56. “perhaps the simplest is that too many games (especially in prime time) lack real excitement, in part because they lack scoring.”

    And with all the changes Goodell, his cronies and the owners have pushed through to help offense and make the fantasy geeks happy, that is a comment on how bad a lot of the personnel people and coaches in the league are if you can’t score with the massive softening of defenses that has occurred the last 10 years.

  57. Weakened product due to CBA, not enough practice time, players too young.

    Thursday games are a mess, b.c of short week. (It’s impossible to blame programing b.c there’s no way in football to know who’s going to be good. So that seems like a silly argument.)

    And I actually think there’s TOO MUCH parity.

    It’s all just a bunch of randomness, outside of the few good organizations who have learned how to play the in the salary cap era. (Patriots mostly)

    And now the randomness feels even more aggressive, its like the teams just totally flip every 4 weeks. Good teams become bad, bad teams good. It’s not actually that interesting, it’s just chaos.
    – – –
    I was crazy about football just a couple years ago, watched every game, now I barely watch games anymore, maybe some highlights online.

  58. Let this be a lesson to businesses who think there will be no impact if they let their employees get away with political protests while on the job.

  59. Goodell better change the rules. How about the defense can only play with 10 players. That should increase scoring.

  60. The product overall just isn’t as good as it used to be.

    My team sucks hard (SF) but I still suffer through every game each week. Beyond punishing myself with Niner games I watch RedZone channel because there are too many stoppages in a normal game and there aren’t many great teams to watch. RZ goes for 7 hours with no commercials and I can so only the excited stuff. No punts – yay.

  61. In my opinion the product is very poor nowadays. Every single College Football team runs the horrible run/read option which isn’t applicable to the NFL so players are coming in with a steeper learning curve.

    Less hitting in practice is fine and dandy and all – but if we are going to whine and complain about concussions and poor tackling, well…I am not sure what everyone expects if players aren’t practicing it anywhere near as much.

    Look at what people missed yesterday as far as lower ratings: Not much. Yesterday’s games were just about the worst that I can remember. Not only is it at risk for over-saturation, but it simply isn’t as good as it once was.

  62. I’ve lost interest this year. Commercials bad officiating can start it off. I also think the amount and severity of injuries are nowhere near what previous generations experienced. It becomes demoralizing to fans and raises questions about performance emehancement. The QB driven league has limited the competition against teams without a qb. Competing networks, blogs, and sports pages has made football talk obsessive woth too many analysts and player input. It’s so numbing, that I actually needed a break from football DURING THE SEASON.

  63. I pretty much have been sticking to watching my favorite team’s games.

    I used to turn on the pregame show(s) and stay glued to the TV for the entire day and – if the game was not a stinkfest or blowout – night. Then I’d be back for MNF and TNF.

    Not anymore. Same gripes as many others (officiating, endless reviews, dumb NFL policies (celebration restrictions, garbage “taunting” calls, etc.), all the off-field drama…

    Yawn. The games may not be taking longer, but they damn sure FEEL like they take eons.

  64. Remember when NASCAR got huge? Was going to be the next huge thing?

    What did they do?

    They started charging more. Now it’s not anywhere near cheap entertainment. They started to monkey with the sport – point chases, car changes etc. No longer was it easy to identify the Fords and Chevys – they’re all the same except for the stickers. Drivers got corporate and clean cut and PR managers.

    And now NASCAR has fallen off the face of the sports world. Sure – Daytona still gets hype but after that – NASCAR has basically shrunk in popularity where now it’s an afterthought at best.

    Sounds a lot like where the NFL is going and for the same reasons.

    Stop messing with the product. Stop overcharging and let the players be whom they are.

  65. all you people wanting to axe TNF are dumb as it gets…. the problem isn’t TNF its the crappy teams they put in the time slot… rather than having a bunch of good games at 1 why not spread them out? its not like you can watch chargers and ATL as the same time as KC and the saints… SPREAD OUT THE GOOD GAMES. make the other time slots worth something!!!! even the MNF and SNF have sucked… spread the good matchups out more!!!!! how isn’t this common sense?

  66. “And I actually think there’s TOO MUCH parity.”
    If by parity you mean that 90% of the teams are equally terrible I can’t agree more.

  67. Wait a minute i thought the Patsies were America’s Team ? More people watched the Cowboy’s/Steelers with Matt Cassell !

  68. I liked last nights game, love seeing defense – the protests don’t bother me, player safety doesn’t bother me – it’s poor play and too many penalties, unclear rules, out of control commissioner, the whole thing is just maxxed out and overdone on the broadcast side also.

  69. Bad officiating… Too many bad calls and not consistency in calls.

    Over saturation…. Get rid of Thursday night and possible Sundat night games.

    No celebrations …. let the guys have some fun.

    Having a in market team shoved down your throat every week. Living in Charlotte, we basically get the Panthers every week (even though the stadium is not truly sold out)

    The NFL needs to work with Direct or whoever and offer an on demand per game / team basis. So you can buy the game of your choice each week.

  70. My favorite is the score, drawn out review (maybe with its own commercial break), extra point, commercial break, kickoff with no return, commercial break. Ten minutes


    You forgot the penalty flag thrown for taunting after the score

  71. voiceofrealism says:
    Oct 24, 2016 3:46 PM
    Too little about playing football, and too much about players off field issues and crimes. Too much about what players think and say when all we want them to do is shut up and play. Too much about how the NFL isn’t punishing enough, is punishing too much, or that Goodell thinks he’s god.

    Maybe it should shrink, players should make less money and remember that they only play a game and they aren’t any better than the fans.


    ya let the billionaires make all the money they deserve it… and people wonder how we are left to choose between killary and trump…. idiots make the majority in this country

  72. Between the lackluster announcing, 135 minutes of commercials and horrible rules / officiating people just don’t have time or care enough to watch if it’s not their team.

    Speed up the game (30 second play clock), make the rules simpler (IE if you need a frame by frame HD replay to see if the ball moved 1/16 of an inch, it’s a catch) and limit TV timeouts to 2 per quarter and ratings will soar.

  73. The Truth says:
    Oct 24, 2016 4:05 PM
    Wait a minute i thought the Patsies were America’s Team ? More people watched the Cowboy’s/Steelers with Matt Cassell !
    Yep, because the public believed the Cowboys had a shot to beat the Steelers with Cassell. Not so much when Landry Jones is your guy going against Tom Brady.

  74. Way too many penalties and commercials. It just takes too long and its nearly impossible to get any kind of pace too the games. I just hope they don’t get any more bright ideas of how to prop up the offenses. I used to like football when it was challenge to score a touchdown. Not a challenge because the referees are calling penalties and putting the offenses in the hole and behind the chains on every drive but because the defenses were very good and you really had to work your tail off to beat them. That was fun to watch. All the illegal contact and pushing off penalties are just stupid. Not to mention hands to the face and all the dumb rules to designed eliminate contact. Helmet to helmet and launching are good to try to control but everything else nonsense. Let the guys go out and play some football. Make’em work for it.

  75. Interruptions in the flow of play. That simple. Consisting of:
    Endless replays and reviews
    Penalties (that are likely to be reviewed, see above).

    Throw in bad teams, talking heads that talk out their… , 5x replays of a 3 yard incompletion (or was it???) and boring games, and you have a product that is unappealing to watch. Football games now last longer by about 15 minutes than the average MLB game, and have 8 minutes of actual play. 8. Eight. EIGHT. Minutes.

  76. I know I am watching less than in years past. personally, I would like to see the Thursday games go away. The games should occur on Sunday’s with Sunday and Monday night being reserved for the best matchups of the week (not sure how exactly you determine that).

    I would say I also get tired of all the over reactions to every little thing that happens from these so called experts.

  77. If the NFL would (nationally) televise all of the San Diego Chargers games, ratings would rise. Why? No matter who they’re playing and no matter the lead, there will always have 50+ points scored and some form of comeback involved.

  78. Bad product across the board.

    College football is wide open and fun.

    NFLPA CBA cutting practice time isn’t helping.

    Here in SW Florida there are better options than a Sunday filled with garbage TV …

  79. jag1959 says:
    Oct 24, 2016 3:44 PM
    Why is it in all these ratings articles all over the net so few people talk about the elephant in the room. Commercials, weak games, rule changes, cord cutting, weather, blah blah were all there last year. The anthem protests and election are unique to this year and seem to be getting plenty of attention but few articles lend much credence to what you see posted here all the time, people no longer trust the league. And that lack of trust has reached a tipping point to where we question the validity of game results. That is huge.

  80. I’d suggest consumer confidence is at an all time low.

    There have always been bad teams. Bad officiating. Commercials. I’m not saying they are not legitimate complaints, but I am suggesting those complaints existed in the past. Consumer confidence towards the NFL head office is new territory.

    Weather it’s inconsistencies in punishments. Taking huge sums of taxpayer money from the Military to “honor” the troops. How the NFL talks down to it’s fans from their moral high horse (even though they don’t seem to have any morals themselves.) Maybe it’s one of those, maybe it’s all of those.

    IMO NFL HQ has spoiled it’s own league.

  81. The offensive line play sucks almost across the entire league. If you can’t block anyone you aren’t going to have a functioning offense and in turn the games are going to be boring and frustrating as hell to watch. I love defensive smash mouth football… but I hate watching teams that can’t even execute offensive plays correctly because the blocking is so bad.

  82. Does anyone actually think the ratings dip will change a thing? Don’t bet on it.

    You have to scour your guide on DirecTV to even find obscure channel that the NLCS or the ALCS is on, and yet MLB is sticking with their tiresome, unwatchable 162 game seasons. It was easier to find FBS football on Saturday night than Game 6.

    Just a few years ago it would’ve been inconceivable that the two championship series would be on anything other than a major network.

    The NHL makes everyone suffer through an entire season, and then pretty much all but two teams make the playoffs. You can’t find those on TV, either, but there’s still tons of hockey.

    This is a blip. The NFL will plow forward with whatever nonsense they have in mind, caring little about ratings drops. London team in 2018! Goodell uber alles!

  83. 1. Kap’s antics have hurt a little bit
    2. Yawner match-ups have hurt a little bit.
    3. Inner-play bureaucracy (refs, commercials, replays) starting to hurt.
    4. More games on NFL Network = more niche the product.
    5. Baseball more compelling than normal this year.

  84. I’d also add..old generation owners knew how to not only run their teams but also the game and league itself. As a steelers fan…the Rooneys, The Krafts, The Maras, The Debartolos, Pat Bowlen, even Al Davis, know how to contribute to their teams and to the league. Now we are stuck with the corporate empty suits, or obsessive hellicopter owners who are brought in to make tv deals and build stadiums could care less about winning if their pockets are full of cash.


    This page is owned by a major player in the NFL broadcasting game. Please take note of how many of these comments give you the answer.


    You can keep writing articles blaming quality of play, social issues, elections, scoring. What ever you want but the reality is…


  86. The answer to this is simple. COMMERCIALS.

    The commercials during NFL games are insane. 3.5 hours games have 1.5 hours of commercials. It is excruciating. No one likes commercials, so people are going to find ways to avoid them which is extremely easy this day and age with all the new outlets to watch TV.

    This is never going to change because the owners dont care about ratings, the players, the fans, or anything really, as long as their pockets are flush they are going to do whatever they want.

    Until money, not ratings, is down, there will be no changes in ANYTHING.

  87. The NFL refs flag everything! One game can take up to 4 hours. Let the men play unless the foul is blatant. That is one issue.
    The second issue is at the game or at home there are so many stoppage of plays. If its not a commercial its something else.

  88. Mix politics with pastimes, terrible officiating, and water it all down with rules and judgement calls…. then add in 10,000 commercials and officiating delays. The result is this!

    I find myself watching more college football.

  89. I am tuning out more as I am sick of watching someone complaining at the end of nearly every play. If there is no flag for Def PI, the receiver is begging for it. If it is called the DB is arguing against it. Quit crying and play the game. Same reason I quit watching NBA games.

  90. I think I have a normal cycle … I watched every bit of football I could in my twenties … now in my fifties I watch my team for sure and more if time permits.

    Young guys that work for me, guys that played ball in college, clearly the type that would be 24/7 fans … well they tell me two things:

    a lot watch RedZone. They cannot sit through the grind of four quarters for the most part … they want to stay on top of their fantasy teams and catch all the plays all the time.

    they tell me they and their friends do not buy cable or satellite television. They are netflix types. When they watch a game, and they do, it is “Live Streamed” on the internet for free … takes twenty minutes or so to set up but … key word is free, or if it is a big game they head to the sports bar. A lot cheaper than a cable contract.

    These are the hardcore fans I am talking to.

  91. The Packer/Bear game was also propped up a lot from the many Vikings fans watching the game. Without that it would’ve looked much worse.

  92. This is the same NFL that cannot figure out what a catch is so there are never going to figure out why the ratings are down.

    Too many penalties
    Too many poor teams in prime time
    Anthem protests
    Too many commercials

    Did I miss anything??

  93. A game that penalizes tackles like the one Artie Burns was flagged for yesterday isn’t a game I care to watch. Kraft and Goodell will eventually turn football into watching Brady play catch with no defenders, that’s the way things are trending at least.

  94. To those who say that there aren’t more commercials, I wonder what game you are watching. Back in the day (and by that, I mean the 80’s and 90’s) there was no commercial right after every punt and kickoff. The teams came on the field, the play was called, and the game went on. Also, there were no challenges, so there were no extended delays that allowed more commercials to play. The flow and pace of the game were much faster. Also, there were more running plays, so the clock kept running. Refs called obvious penalties, they were enforced (without a bunch of hand wringing) and the game went on. No review of whether a guys pinkie finger touched the ground .1 milliseconds before the ball crossed the line. No 30 second explanation of why the call was made or overturned. Yeah, some calls were missed, but that was part of the game. Now every play, call and penalty is dissected as nauseam, giving us a game that has no flow or pace, but plenty of commercials.

  95. It’s simple…the offerings are more diverse now with the emergence of streaming…it’s simple logic…there are disruptors in the market…the NFL product offering is dated, but it’s not much you can do about that, they cant do anything right now but hope Dak becomes the next face of the league

  96. Well the refs like to throw a flag on every play whether there should be a penalty or not, and the change-of-possession commercial spectacular has really hurt the game.

  97. I disagree with you Mike. I think the NFL jumped the shark with officials and penalties. They’re a major part of the braodcast now.

    Flags slowing down the game are bad enough. Having the ref take center stage, turn on his mic, speak to the tv audience about a standard, random offsides call is killing the action. And the game.

    If the NFL wants to make the game more fan friendly, take away the center stage for the ref. Use the mic for major rulings only. Have the tv booth advise the audience of the call. Like every other sport.

    If you want a ref to explain the call, use the retired guy in the booth for that. It’s all they’re good for. Keep the game moving.

  98. “””The challenge for the league, beyond cultivating more stars (by, you know, embracing their individuality and not suppressing it)”””

    Give me a break. This league does not need what you want. Players running around like spoiled brats needing attention. If MF had his way they would rename the league The Odell Beckam League. The media loves these guys. The best players in the past decade Manning Brady, Favre, Brees, Big Ben and even Rivers don’t make jerks of themselves. You want to replace these guys with the Cam Newton’s, you show boating , self centered play who when he loses pouts like a baby. Is that what you want pouting babies that don’t get their way? That is part of what is wrong with the league is the Newton’s and Beckmans.

  99. I’ve said it on every single article about this: too many commercials. I stopped watching basketball except for the really big games like a game 7 or March Madness final four because the last 2 mins of a game are unwatchable. The coaches aren’t that smart and it isn’t about them…let the players play. I wish basketball would limit teams to 1 timeout each in the final 2 minutes. Football is starting to have that same flow. 20 seconds of game action between a TD and extra point, 8 mins of commercials. How can the EPL be sooooo profitable with zero commercials? The NFL is just gonna have to willingly contract the revenue grab a little bit, or it’ll happen for them. Mark Cuban was right (except he needs to look in the mirror regarding why NBA ratings aren’t higher)…you can’t oversaturate. Get rid of TNF and give MNF and SNF the right to yank the best game each week so those 2 slots get good matchups.

  100. Too many penalties = sloppy play = subpar players thrust into action.

    The CBA has helped cause this problem of lack of quality & depth on the roster.
    All the money goes to the 3 star players. The rest of the salary cap is used up by 1st & 2nd year players who are learning on the job. The 7yr pro has to move from team to team and fight for bottom-tier salaries. This causes a lack of continuity. See the Seahawks offensive line? Practically all street free agents of no pedigree.

  101. Its the ridiculous calls. Also it is tough for those of us who actually like defense. In the article you say that no one wants to watch low scoring games. That simply isn’t true. I love defense, maybe its part of the Philly mindset, but some of the best games I’ve ever seen have been 13-9 10-7 affairs.

  102. There are many reasons. I’ve watched football for 43 years religiously. I’m losing interest. The Kapernick protest started me turning off games. Let’s add in it’s not football anymore. Hard hits are penalties. Just ridiculous flags for EVERYTHING. God forbid there is lightning 20 miles away, game is stopped. I used to sit and watch every game I could. I’ve watched 3 games this year. The game has changed and not for the better

  103. QB play has been up and down the last 50 years.

    Team parity has been up and down the last 50 years.

    Ratings and the NFL fan base has grown straight up through it all.

    Then one day players started protesting during the National Anthem.

    Ratings and base suddenly dropped.

    Connected? Hell Yes!!

  104. Biggest issues are:

    1. The anthem
    2. The commercials – way too many
    3. The perception that owners will do anything for more money at the expense of making the game more unwatchable for fans. Even the whole pink breast cancer for a month thing – we know this is about selling jerseys and apparel to women.

  105. I did not mind the 6-6 game. It was fairly well played with no turnovers. So what if it was too good defenses. I don’t want 38-35 all the time.

  106. Thursday games suck. All of them (except for Thanksgiving). Get rid of them. Fans hate them. Players hate them. Fantasy Football players hate them.

    LESS IS MORE. Get that through your FAT heads, NFL.

  107. Has anyone even seen a one second live shot of a player kneeling in the past two weeks? Has anyone heard an in game play-by-play broadcaster or analyst devote one word to the subject since week 5?

    The only people keeping the issue alive are the people so butt hurt about it. No one else cares.

  108. Maybe it’s the analysts, columnists, and pundits that should shoulder a bit of the blame here…

    Always playing up the social justice warrior storylines that average viewers watch football to take a pause from, and always demanding redress for the ways a physical game hurts players (even couching some of that in social justice language).

    The result ends up being a lamer atmosphere where every play has the potential to be overturned on something that 30 years ago would have been a crowd-pleasing hit or sack or whatever. Or worse: no play has that potential, and it’s still boring.

  109. I don’t get the anthem truthers.

    The league screws over the military by actually charging service honor guards to fly the colors before the games, charges the public for fly overs and charges the miltary for signage throughout stadiums across the country. They do this for years and nobody says a word. A War hero senator exposes the graft and you can hear the crickets chirping. Then a guy kneels to protest inequality and outrage ensues.

    Meh, whatever. The beauty of this country is you may write and feel any way you please.

  110. I’m still watching about the same. Most of the reasons people have given were also true last year. I love all the major sports. I don’t really care that much about watching hockey or basketball until the 50 or so games gave been played. I think the absurdity of the way discipline has grown to new heights. I don’t know how many people would boycott the entire league over Kap and a handful of others.

    One thing I have noticed in my circles is that more and more people are recording games and watching them later. I don’t but many do. You don’t need a Tivo, just let Comcast do it. Those do not count in ratings. I am a despicable Pats fan living in metro Detroit. Here the interest in college and pro seems about the same.

    The election is part of it. A very exciting MLB postseason is part of it. I have been complaining about ticky tak penalties for years. I suppose some have finally reached their limit. The amount of commercials doesn’t appear to have increased significantly since last year, but I suffer through those. Good defense to me is just as enjoyable as good offense, but that’s me. The NFC has had it’s two top teams, the Panthers and the Cardinals get off to horrible starts. Anything Chip Kelly touches in pro loses. That’s sad for SF fans.

    Whatever it is I don’t feel it has that much to do with the players.

  111. Honest question for those of you who blame the “protests”: If they completely stopped, 100% immediately, would everything be ok and would viewership skyrocket?

  112. It’s an easy answer. Football isn’t the main attraction any longer. Football is a team game not a reality show. The players are more worried about their brand because of the way the game is presented. The networks think they are more important than the game. Guess it’s another example of money talking. The NFL sold their soul to the networks. The networks have too many talking heads involved and emphasize the individual player’s TMZ life.

  113. I blame free agency. No, but seriously, I don’t watch any NFL football anymore, and I noticed that started with the Super Bowl over the years. Yet, THAT game has been breaking records… not because of the quality of football. So extrapolate that into poor match ups on MNF, Thursday Night, Sunday Night, and really poor quality of play in most Sunday afternoon games… I find the NFL unwatchable.

  114. I am watching less but not because of low scoring. I like a well played game regardless of the score. The first half of the season is like pre-season extended. With all the practice restrictions teams are not fundamentally good. They cant tackle, run the right routes etc. I almost threw up watching Odell Beckham and will not watch any game with him or the other self absorbed idiot Kaepernick.

  115. I always watch the games on a 1-hour delay now. So I can fast forward through all the commercials, penalty explanations, referees having a committee meeting about penalties on the field, more commercials, more penalties, more commercials, etc.

    Now excuse me, for some reason I really have the urge to buy a Toyota pickup truck and get State Farm insurance, then buy an AT&T phone on the way home.

  116. oversaturation.

    The NFL should learn what the Scarcity Principle is. People want what they don’t always have access to.

    Thursday night games used to be aired only toward the end of a season. it was cool. Now it’s just bad football. I skip it.

    I’ll watch my favorite team and then maybe Sunday or Monday night – dependent on what else is going on. I don’t schedule my life around it anymore.

  117. I think a few more commercials in between officials deciding games on penalty’s would really help. And if every game could dedicate just 5 minutes during half time for roger godell to be on screen and lie to the audience, that would be great too.

  118. Coin Flip.
    National Anthem.
    Opening Kickoff Return For TD.
    Extra Point.
    Back to Live Action and the Old Spice Red Zone Stats.

  119. trailerparkking says:
    Oct 24, 2016 4:40 PM
    A game that penalizes tackles like the one Artie Burns was flagged for yesterday isn’t a game I care to watch. Kraft and Goodell will eventually turn football into watching Brady play catch with no defenders, that’s the way things are trending at least.

    A game that wants to continue to pretend it cares about player safety has to throw a flag when a defender picks up a receiver and drops him on his head.

  120. Here’s what’s funny to me… Probably the biggest reason the sport is losing fans is because of the officiating. Refs play WAY too big of a role in the game with how many flags they throw. Way too many flags that slow the game down and kill any flow. I don’t know an NFL fan that would disagree. However, you watch the game last night and saw Bobby Wagner make an amazing play by hurdling the center to block a field goal. You take a look at social media and people are flipping out because the refs didn’t throw a flag because after the slow mo replay, Wagners cleat barely grazed the guys’ jersey.

    Seriously people, you can’t have it both ways. Shut up about the incidental plays and demanding flags for every little thing, all while complaining that refs throw too many flags.

  121. Commercials.

    We missed the opening kickoff and the first play of the game in the Patriots-Steelers game due to extended commercials. When the game came back from the coin toss it was already 2nd and 7. Mark Cuban was 100% right. The NFL’s greed will lead to their downfall.

  122. Fans are speaking out. If us fans just watch our team and no others Roger is in deep dodo. The uneven fines, whacko suspensions, no clue what’s going on with the players and the demonstrations against our great 🇺🇸🇺🇸is turning us fans off.

  123. Simply put, I used to watch every game I could on Sunday, Monday & Thursday. Was a season ticket holder for twenty years and then my team was taken from me thru lies and deception for greed. I now don’t need the NFL. If I do watch a game I make it a point NOT to buy from their sponsors.

    If you don’t want me, I don’t need you.

  124. The fans miss the Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning match ups. This was one of the greatest rivalries in the history of football and now, it’s gone forever. Good things come to an end eventually and the NFL product is no exception to that fact.

    The poor officiating, the over-saturation of the product, too many commercial breaks, the national anthem protests, the poor prime-time match ups, and the election are all ongoing factors as well.

    Ratings having been this low since 2007. Politics and football will never ever mix. It will turn the fans away. Even when Obama was re-elected for his second term back in 2012, the ratings were still above average. The protests are contributing to it significantly.

  125. The fans miss the Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning match ups. This was one of the greatest rivalries in the history of football and now, it’s gone forever. Good things come to an end eventually and the NFL product is no exception to that fact.

    The poor officiating, the over-saturation of the product, too many commercial breaks, the national anthem protests, the poor prime-time match ups, and the election are all ongoing factors as well.

    Ratings haven’t been this low since 2007. Politics and football will never ever mix. It will turn the fans away. Even when Obama was re-elected for his second term back in 2012, the ratings were still above average. The protests are contributing to it significantly.

  126. .

    Get rid of Thursday games and london games.

    Mainly get rid of Thursday games, it’s too much.

    Going against Walking Dead is gunna lose you a ton.

  127. Herin lies the real motivation for the Owners and Goodell to launch Framegate

    Parity was supposed to ensure that every team was a contender – joke organizations were supposed to be a thing of the past and the NFL expansion would continue

    Having Brady and the Patriots take up the AFC’s Super Bowl slot literally every other season the owners and Commissioner felt was a threat to the popularity of the game elsewhere (especially with teams like the Browns, Jets, Colts, Ravens, etc. stinking up the league)

    Answer – sit Brady and give someone else a fighting chance to displace them in the AFC. Epic Fail Goodell – now people are tuning out because they also figured out the game is largely fixed when teams are allowed to “Suck for Luck” but Brady is benched for following the Laws of Physics because he simply wins

  128. One thing that I have always admired about British Football (soccer) compared to ALL North American sports is the idea of “relegation”. It creates a condition where all teams are playing for something. If you are good you will be playing for a championship, if you are bad your play might cost your team a demotion to a lesser LEAGUE. Well, that wouldn’t work here for reasons of geography, logistics and tradition. But one thing we could do is not reward teams that tank but at the same time give them games with national and local interest. The way you do that is by changing one part of the formula for how the NFL determines its scheduling. Right now the way one part works is that all teams are required to play their divisional counter parts in whatever conference they belong to. That is why the only team in the AFC WEST the Pats will play this year is the Broncos as both teams won their respective divisions just as those two division’s last place teams will play each other. What I would do is something akin to the playoff formula where the top teams play the bottom teams and the middling teams play each other. Doing a “suck for Luck” will cost you. A team playing for a high draft pick will also find themselves facing the toughest competition the year after. But at the same time they will also get at least one premier team in their backyard and three high profile games (four, if you include the other conference) which at least showcases the “primetime” teams evenly throughout the NFL.

  129. Too many games on tv. Reviews take forever and are often confusing. “He Got Jacked Up” fun videos discontinued because lawyers said it glamorized violence. Arrogant ungrateful players are a turn off. I know few men who wouldn’t gladly play a game we love for money and take a risk of getting hurt.

  130. Sort of realize my math doesn’t quite add up but the idea still stands. My main point is that the NFL needs to rethink its scheduling so that every position earns the team either some advantage or disadvantage for the next season after and therefore every position has value. The more value, the more people continue to care even if it means their team ends up second, third or last place.

  131. Teams are delivering a shoddy product and the viewing experience is so overstuffed with commercials that it’s simply not fun.

    It’s simply not fun. You can’t get into a game when it’s being interrupted so much.

  132. I will only watch the games of one team to support that team until the NFL publically announces the results of the PSI study that was conducted during the 2015 season.

    I refuse to support the rest of the NFL because the NFLs decision to hide that PSI information makes the NFL look corrupt.

  133. It’s not so much the officiating its all the new rules the NFL has put in. Can’t touch a receiver and can’t hit anybody which creates horrible calls that in the past would never be called.

  134. I am a lifelong NFL fan, family season ticket holder for 50 years this year. I have spent FAR LESS time watching games this year than in the past.

    Two major reasons:

    1) Roger Goodell. The man makes me nauseous and it is getting close to the point where maybe HE has turned off enough fans so that the owners will notice. When he is GONE, I might resume my regular NFL watching activities, but only IF #2 is addressed.

    2) The Officiating STINKS. It looks like certain teams are decided to be winners before the game even starts. Two TERRIBLE pass interference penalties cost my pathetic team two games this year and yesterday’s officiating was also a joke.

    It is getting closer and closer to the day when I just shut off the NFL for good. If #1 and #2 are not addressed soon, I will be done.

  135. Once good ell started to become the show it was the end for a lot of fans. His lack of equity and rationale for issuing discipline has been woefully deficient. His lack of integrity and clarity as to right and wrong is littered with biased decision making which does nothing but alienate NFL fan bases. Owners have been able to justify his malfeasance because ratings were through the roof but now when there’s a tipping point and money is on the table hopefully the owners take another look at what transgressions this guy has wrought on the NFL fan base and send him packing. A man with more real world management experience dealing consistently and equitable with teams, players, nflpa and customers (fans) will be required for the NFL to continue to grow.

  136. The problem is…. the PLAYERS. You were dumb giving Goodell all of this power in the latest CBA. Don’t make the same mistake in a few years. The only thing good about Roger is the first 4 letters of his last name.

  137. The hardcore fans also tend to believe that the U.S. has a good legal system and we hardcore fans think that punishment for players should be left to the same system that we all have to abide by. Not BADell’s. Translation if they are walking free their employer should decide if they play!!!

  138. Contract the league by 4 teams. This would infuse more talent into the remaining teams and therefore the product on the field would be better.

  139. Well, for instance, I’m on here blogging while a MNF game is on… The games are plagued by commercials and penalties. When I was a kid, games were 2.5-3 hours, now they are a guaranteed 3.5. No thank you. Especially when the DVR’s and NFL game pass make it possible to watch a game in 30 – 40 minutes. I have read several compelling comments that include real reasons; I disagree that anthem protests have much to do with it. Statistics have proven that old angry white guys are dying off at a great rate, and they don’t represent the type of drop-off that is happening.

    It’s the commercials and penalties. It’s “money over all” attitude of the owners and commissioner; and the obvious translation of that onto the field of play. Did anyone see the empty stadium that the 49ers and Buc’s played in yesterday? I did, and I streamed it for free on the internet because I can.

    We, as a population, are getting smarter and smarter while technology has allowed us to have shorter attention spans for garbage like the NFL puts out. It’s obvious “greed over everything” has cast a shadow bigger than that monstrosity that Al Davis added to the Oakland / Alameda Coliseum – which is the reason that the Raiders need a new one… oh the irony!

    The NFL has turned into a suck-fest. In the last 21 years/SB games, there have been 7 different teams from the AFC and 13 from the NFC. Is that “parity”? No.

    I’m a firm believer that the game is fixed, proof is in last night’s contest. Just as these articles have been clamoring about ratings decreasing, leave it to the NFL to throw in a tie game to stretch another 30 minutes of commercials down our throats. If ratings continue to drop, believe that more tie games will occur.

    It’s all about the money, and it always will be. The NFL has reaped this upon itself: it gets publicly subsidized farm-leagues through high-school and college sports, then the majority of the stadiums are publicly subsidized, then they have the gall charge the military for advertising.

    The public is growing tired of subsidizing billionaires to the detriment of the greater good. Sorry NFL, you have peaked and will now begin your decline into infamy.

  140. No surprise the Commissioner is the son of a “professional politician” — such people think they are above listening to the people.

    The people have told you what the problems are with the country (ILLEGAL immigration, a system that favors the 1% and politically connected at the expense of the hard-working, patriotic majority) and the fans have told you the problems with the NFL (bad Thursday product, poor game flow because of commercials, and, yes, anti-American SJW views forced on them by the Media and players).

    You can listen to the people/fans or you can get lost.

  141. The fans are tired of the same teams in prime time. I mean why would you continue to watching a bunch of cheaters like the Patriots or a bunch of under achievers like Pittsburgh or Cincinnati? Goodell is doing a great job but they need to put a real team like Baltimore on more prime time games. Everyone is tired of Brady cheating or Big Ben or Dalton choking.

  142. Too many commercials; too many games; too many penalties (many of the dumb variety). Going the way of baseball, which probably won’t bother the owners’ pocketbooks a bit. Which means we will get more of the same.

  143. Thursday night footballl…useless.

    Snooze fests like this last Monday don’t help but that is football.

    Personally I am just so mad at the NFL that I only watch the Patriots…and check the scores of everyone else.

    This is, eventually, what you get when you put a serial liar with zero integrity running things!!!

  144. The NFL is soon becoming the SFL for Seniors’ Football League. Today’s youth have other thing to do than stare blankly at a TV screen watching football. They have interactive personal or online gaming where they have an effect on the outcome. Fantasy football will also soon fade like Pokemon Go. How about an exhibition game where fans on a computer from the home state get to pick from 4 offensive plays that the team would execute?

  145. Fire Goodell!
    Bogus pass interference calls
    Terrible refs
    No touchdown celebrations
    Boring matchups

  146. Literally 1/2 of the people I know are boycotting the NFL because of the kneeling during the National Anthem. And that is a conservative estimate.

  147. I’ll put in my two cents, for what it’s worth;

    First of all, I have a weekend off and can’t watch football all day Saturday and Sunday. I used to be a dye in the wool NFL viewer. I would watch a little College stuff on Saturday, but not nearly as much as I’d watch on Sunday. Over the past few years, I have “flip flopped” on my football and it is now ALL DAY Saturday to watch NCAA football! The reason is simple, the NFL has changed and it’s not for the better. Sure, I like more scoring, but not the cheap stuff nowadays. The defenses are on the field and it’s like they have one leg hobbled and one arm tied behind their backs! If they try to hit a receiver or a QB, they have about an 18 inch target that they can hit or a YELLOW flag comes out for a first down. OR, a flag comes out whenever a defender breathes hard on a receiver for pass interference. QB records don’t mean squat anymore because of the cheap penalties that are called against the defense nowadays.

    Second, too many penalties for too many things. This is one part of the college game that I like, there are not nearly as many flags being tossed as in the NFL.

    Third, all of this “personal conduct” stuff. Everytime you turn around, the league is investigating some player for slapping his wife and threatening to give him a 4 or 5 game suspension. I am not for anyone hitting their wife, but, why not let law enforcement do their jobs and, if the player is arrested, then address it. I know that a player might believe in spanking their kids, and he has to worry about some teacher seeing a little mark on their legs and the player has to worry about the NFL suspending him for a season. Let the police do their jobs first, but don’t find a man guilty until proven innocent.

    Next, do a final change on official call challenges. Do it like it was when it first came in, give a coach 3 challenges per half and play ball!! As we saw the other night, one team if there is a close call, will rush up to the line to try to snap the ball to keep the booth guys from seeing it and that is not fair. The refs on the ground can see that a play might be reviewed, he can step in for a few second, stop the play clock everything, then the booth can signal to go ahead and let them go.

    Last, and I don’t think the NFL can do anything about this; the fan enthusiasm at NCAA games is a thousand percent better than the NFL!! Most of the kids who play college ball will never play in the NFL. They don’t get paid, they do it for the love of the game and for their college pride. We see the NFL guys and, most of them are overpaid prima dona’s. This garbage with Kaepernick and his disrespect for the National Anthem surely hasn’t helped. These guys are playing a game in a country that affords them to make a thousand times more than the average American and they want to disrespect that flag??? Average people like me just don’t get this stuff.

  148. dkeucd says:
    Oct 24, 2016 3:39 PM
    This is such a stupid narrative. People haven’t all of the sudden decided they don’t like football. There are a thousand different ways to watch the games, we have a crazy election going on, baseball is having a historic run with the Cubs, and The Red Zone is an entirely new and really fun way to watch the games on Sunday. By the end of the season the ratings will be back up and this will be forgotten.
    Sure Roger, we believe you.

  149. It’s simple, really. In my region, the NFL gave me Oakland vs Jacksonville. The refs threw 25 flags, give or take. Over a 60 minute game, that’s like 2-3 flags per drive. The league force fed me, the pats, steelers, packers and seahawks. And I had to watch the refs help each one of those teams with mysterious missed calls, phantom calls to extend drives, and the like. I just turned the games off because I’m so sick of seeing that crap.

  150. I lost interest when they stopped showing the occasional stumbling drunk who runs onto the field and the camera pans to the sideline.

  151. Please Mike, one game ends 6-6 in 40 years and we need to adjust the rules to create more offense. Please no. I loved that game the other night, especially for its uniqueness.
    NFL games should have 38-50 max points, anything more devalues a score.

    I had to LOL at the hockey comments though. NHL has seen goals drop from 8 to 5 in 30 years. Sure it’s fast paced but you know no one will score, especially with a big fat goalie blocking 90% of the net.

  152. I don’t think this is an issue pertaining to the flag protests or even the Deflategate stuff. I do believe, however, that the NFL has decided to sell the game to the finicky masses that vacate the premises as soon as something else shiny grabs their attention or have a need to over-politicize everything. Yes, it has expanded the game and brought immense profits to the owners of the teams and trickled more money to the players, but it also is alienating the core niche audience that relishes hard-hitting competition and strategy. Instead of this, we are sold fantasy stats, ‘under review’ for EVERYTHING and stupid uniform combinations. A clear instance of a disconnect with the core audience is how breast cancer awareness is shoved down our throats while the majority of the core audience (men) that needs attention paid to issues such as prostate cancer, gets largely ignored. The networks seek drama, while the real fans just want to see a game. Also, isn’t the game supposed to be fun? If I have to run through a bunch of 300 pounders looking to crush me for 60 minutes, I should be able to do some form of celebration in good taste. Unfortunately, the suits in the ivory tower prefer something else, and not paying attention to the generation of young folks playing the game. To wrap up one of the many rants on this site, the game sucks right now. Protecting the players is a facade meant to save money down the line…the fines levied help pay for the fund set up to prevent another billion or so settlement, so it’s like the league saves future potential payments by taking money from the players for extremely questionable offenses. Yet, we need to see tired teams playing on Thursdays and listen to owners advocate and whine for an 18 game schedule because it may affect the profits…sickening. Give our game back to us and we will stick around; keep selling it to the reality television and fashion crowds, we’ll find something else. Hmmm….I wonder how UFC became so popular in the last few years.

  153. The Cowboys will cure the ratings. Watch the Cowboys starts winning with a romo-less team. Then Romo will come to the rescue and take the Cowboys to the Super Bowl, and finally win, after a 20 year drought. Wait a minute, that’s exactly what is happening with Dak a 4th round draft pick and Elliott at running back. The ratings will go up because of the love/hate of America Team, works every time. Watch the Cowboys defense come alive against the Eagles on Sunday, helping the Cowboys offense to score easily with a romo-less team again. How About Them Cowboys!! Super Bowl Bound Baby!!

  154. 1) Eliminate Thursday football except on Thanksgiving, which should be only two games featuring the Lions and Cowboys.

    2) Let players hit the quarterback again

    3) Let defensive backs hit wide receivers

    4) Revert kickoffs and PATs back to their previous formats

    5) For the love of Pete overhaul the replay system. It is SO SLOW

    6) Order officials to cut down on the amount of penalties called. It’s freaking ridiculous.

    7) Allow players to celebrate

  155. I just realized why ratings are down. If you watched the Monday night game between the Texans and Broncos and you were paying attention, then you’ll realize it’s because the players are starting to get a lot more hateful towards one another. What the Broncos players were saying (before and after the game) and doing to Osweiler, a fellow player was to me, inexcusable. The fans are starting to see the hypocrisy with ALL the NFL and not just the front office on Park Ave.

  156. I am getting turned of because:

    ANTHEM KNEELING ( I turn off the game if the camera zooms in on a player who is kneeling. I don’t need that shoved in my face by someone making big$$$$$$ from my tv viewing and insulting our flag!

    A CATCH?!?! ( I’ve been watching and going to NFL games since 1966. I no longer know what a catch is!)

    REPLAY CHALLENGES( if the refs can’t get a call correct or they don’t throw a flag, ANY play in a game should be allowed to be reviewed by the coach as long as he uses only his allotted number of challenges.)

    TOO MANY PENALTIES ( inconsistent calling when a ticky tack penalty is called and a real obvious one in front of a ref is ignored)

    INCOMPETENT REFS ( there are a more than handful of incompetent refs however it is pretty sad when before the game starts and I see Triplette as the head guy and I know my team will lose cuz my team has never won when he has been the ref because there have been some awful calls. The refs call the penalties they want to see and close their eyes when they don’t want to see one! Refs do control who will win a close game.

    CRIMINAL ACTIONS ALLOWED ON THE FIELD ( I am getting tired of a certain Cincy linebacker AND the Miami lineman who are allowed to play the game using actions that they could be arrested for in society!)

  157. The market is oversaturated; four out of five days of the week have NFL games, almost all of which have been of dubious quality. Injuries, bad QB play, and lack of sync and continuity year-by-year have affected the ability to run complex offenses. The defenses therefore wind up ahead, which doesn’t make good TV.

  158. gregbeau says:
    Oct 24, 2016 3:38 PM

    It’s the commercials. Not just the number of commercials, though there are too many. But last night’s SNF game was overrun with various video game ads which are always violent, scary, gory, disturbing, pick your adjective. Then there are the prescription drug ads, ugly in a different way. America doesn’t need to see that crap


    Sorry, do you want me to turn down my rock music too?

  159. Silver lining – if the ratings drop causes the owners to dump Goodell overboard, it won’t be all bad. I am on a non-stop campaign for Condi Rice as NFL Commissioner. Tough, smart, no nonsense, huge football fan, and her hiring would send a great message about equality and inclusiveness.

  160. What I can’t stand is all the fluff that’s involved now. Theme songs for everything (don’t even get me started on that horrendous Carrie Underwood song on Sunday night), everyone has to have a bit, whether it’s Gruden’s Grinders, Dilfer’s Dimes, “you got Mossed”, and so on. By the time they get to the actual game, I’m hardly interested

  161. 1. Wussification of the game itself. No one is allowed to hit anyone hard anymore.
    2. Penalties on every other play.
    3. The Great Roger Goodell Himself Live And In Person, Celebrity Commissioner (TM) turning the game of football into a video game.
    4. Commercials seemingly after every other play. 5. The reduction of practice time combined with the complication of modern offenses equals teams not knowing what the heck they’re doing.
    6. The emphasis on the passing game. The idea of two teams lining up and seeing who can move the other aside is anathema to Himself. Himself wants it pretty, not good.
    7. Showboating by the players. Doing a victory dance when you stop a runner for a one-yard loss while down 24 points is bogus. When you score a touchdown, a little celebration is OK, but in the words of the late, great Paul Brown, “Act like you’ve been there before”.
    8. Networks that emphasize the flashy over the good.
    9. Networks that keep forcing teams like the Cowboys (zero titles in the last 20 years) down our throats.
    10. Games that last nearly 3.5 hours. Remember when 1:00 games on Sunday ended around 3:45, giving fans time to regroup before the 4:00 starts?
    11. Too many time slots. Two time slots on Sunday and one game on Monday night worked just fine. What once was a scarcity is now a glut.

    I used to park myself in front of the TV every Sunday for six hours or so, and rarely missed MNF. Now the only time I watch is when I’m in a bar or restaurant. Both the product and how it’s presented stink. I still root for my team, but I rarely watch even them.

  162. 12. Strange and unusual application of “justice” by Himself. The harshness of the penalty, even whether there is an infraction, seems strangely tied to how much support a team’s owner gives Himself.

  163. Kaepernick – moron
    Deflategate Fiasco (absolutely sham) – Goodell
    Inconsistency in officiating / rule changes – Officials / Goodell
    Kickoffs – Goodell
    Lies & corruption – Goodell
    Advertisements / commercial breaks – Goodell’s greed
    Expansion of markets (lack on interest in these markets) – Goodell
    Water down talent / – NFL
    Suspensions and fines – Goodell
    Lack of respect and leadership – Goodell
    Lack of consistency when imposing penalties / fines – Goodell
    The obvious protection and bias of certain players / teams – Goodell

    Maybe we should consider replacing the commissioner of the league?

  164. I know I watch less. Couple reasons for it. Obviously being inundated with commercials and ref delays/inconsistencies/replays are the main things. Then there’s the changing the rules to promote both Peytonball & fantasy dorks has had a negative impact on the game for fans of actual football. Promotion of parity at all costs may have helped make fewer really bad teams but also means there are very few really good teams. The Patriots are the only consistently excellent team nowadays so Goodell tries to hatchet them to benefit everyone else. Talk about integrity and hypocrisy.

  165. ill tolerate commercials for the Eagles. i dont really care that much about other teams that ill sit through half the game watching commercials, when i can watch highlights after the game is over. football has changed and people are finally starting to notice.

  166. Crappy officiating, horrible gameplay, Prime Time games that start ridiculously late, if you’re on Eastern time, every stinking media outlet, including PFT, thinking they’re TMZ and, the nail in the coffin, the protests during the anthem. I’m not watching as many games, but the ones that I do, I’m making sure the sponsors know that I noticed their product during while seeing a millionaire athlete disrespect our nation and our veterans while claiming to be oppressed. Enough people do that and make it bite the sponsors in the wallet, you’ll see this stupidity end quickly.

  167. AT says:
    Oct 25, 2016 8:42 AM
    The NFL is converged and ruled by SJWs. It is doomed.
    If only I could give this a ‘thumbs up’ 1,000 times over!

  168. Stars cannot be “cultivated,” they have to evolve. This year the league is filled with young quarterbacks and some of them like Brock Osweiler are schizophrenic while others like Blake Bortles are not advancing as quickly as hoped for. The reality there is the league has to ride out the slump in popularity while young players develop and improve – and as we’re seeing with Matthew Stafford (now being touted as a potential MVP) it likely will take longer than expected to fully blossom.

    As for lack of scoring, it’s a bit of a cyclical issue, though I do favor eliminating the five-yard rule (which has been overrated forever yet hated by most people I know) and adoption of the CFL/Arena rule allowing pass catchers a running start behind the line of scrimmage just before the snap.

  169. “Snore inducing defensive struggles??” Wow last I checked defense is half the game (if you exclude special teams, for the smart ones out there). Maybe the fake fans will leave and they will get rid of pathetic rules like defenseless receiver and the real fans can enjoy some of the football they grew up on. Have the players sign a waiver, yes it’s dangerous but you make a lot of money (like hazard pay for contractors in Iraq or people on crab boats in AK. That would be ideal.

  170. I can’t stand what the NFL has turned into the last 5 years. More and more TV seems to be the goal. The NFL draft spread out over 3 days makes me and my friends only watch the 1st round.

    Everyone playing a Thursday Night Game is plain stupid. The games are legit since most of the players haven’t recovered from the Sunday game. So you are watching a bunch of 80% effort games and younger teams can beat better teams. This is truly stupid.

    Who ever made the NFL every player’s Mom?!? It makes me sick to have listen to every talk show tell me how bad Josh Brown is and how he should have his private journals read to the public. Or how Adrian Peterson should lose a whole year because he whipped his child like 80% of every parent in Texas. These are grown ass men who for almost all of these offenses haven’t been charged by the actual police departments they live in?!?

    And how can I trust Roger Goodell when he let blatant and obvious cheating go unpunished with Spygate. What I mean by unpunished is that for the history of the NFL cheaters were banned for life, not fined. Our whole country has gone to the rich because we only “fine” the banksters who wiped out the whole world’s economy and the NFL started the trend. Goodell should have been fired by the owners after Spygate.

    Cheaters who get caught and nothing happens to them never stop cheating. Ask any woman who has cheated on their significant others. You don’t let suckers like that go.

  171. “I know I watch less. Couple reasons for it. Obviously being inundated with commercials and ref delays/inconsistencies/replays are the main things. Then there’s the changing the rules to promote both Peytonball & fantasy dorks has had a negative impact on the game for fans of actual football. Promotion of parity at all costs may have helped make fewer really bad teams but also means there are very few really good teams. The Patriots are the only consistently excellent team nowadays so Goodell tries to hatchet them to benefit everyone else. Talk about integrity and hypocrisy.”

    BWAHAHA – watching Tom Brady throw 30 5 yard outs is boring as hell football. That is one of the things that is destroying the game. Midget receivers that can’t be touched for 5 yards is the innovation that Belicheck put into the NFL that makes it not worth the time to watch. You can go to a park on the weekend and watch the same thing.

    BTW – Brady’s QB stats are almost the same as everyone else who has played in his place. The system is perfect and the rest of the league ignores it thank god. Can you imagine all 16 games being played like that?!? zzzzzzzzz

  172. It’s going to flag football pretty soon. All the rules in favor of the offense suck, and for goodness sakes don’t touch the fine china(QB)!
    Players are to expensive, babied and often annoying.

  173. Agreed on too many commercials. But what to do about it? Advertisers will get their money or there will be no broadcasting.

    How about doing what soccer does and have corporations sponsor teams and advertise on uniforms? Soccer also has screens lining the field with constant advertising. Soccer rarely goes to commercial partly because of the nature of the game, but it is also due to how corporations get a return on their advertising investment.

    NFL just might have to get creative. If only they had a commissioner capable of doing something besides cracking down on celebrations…

  174. I watch the Red Zone.
    Not stuck with the regional game
    Minimal coverage of stinker games
    No Commercials
    No useless sideline reporters
    Minimal coverage of non football issues
    Roger Goodell is a media hound and an “A” hole

  175. Tonight’s Thursday Night Football match-up is not going to help the ratings. Titans-Jags, I’m not watching and you cannot make me watch that awful color rush B.S.

  176. Simple in sports is good and the NFL killed off simple long ago. Nobody knows what a catch is or even what a legal blocked field goal looks like. They fine guys for celebrating or for wearing the wrong shoes. Can you imagine trying to explain the rules to some foreigner who’d never watched the sport before? He’d would think you were a lunatic just making things up on the fly.

  177. Here is why.

    Many of these athletes protest the anthem due to reasons like oppression and what not, but don’t understand what those issues are. Hey athletes, you are playing in the NFL, and your salaries are off the charts compared to other people of other professions, so how are you oppressed ? The athletes think they are representing those who were really oppressed, but in reality, they are disrespecting them.

    Most of the rules favor the offense, the result of many things like the concussion scandal and Bountygate scandal. The common penalties like pass interference are at times unclear and up to the discretion of the officials. I don’t know what a catch is anymore according to the NFL. Every year, fans ask for clarification as to what these rules are, but continues to ignore fans. My suspicion is that they deliberately make certain penalties subjective as a way to influence the outcomes of games, especially playoff games. It doesn’t seem right to me that the multi-billion dollar industry would leave things up to chance, especially if these owners are well aware of the fact that certain matchups can lead to higher ratings and more money.

    Thursday Night Football sucks and nothing more than cash grab for the owners. Teams cannot play at full strength after a 4 day rest period. It would be unlikely for them to be competitive, but the owners still have this product for an astounding 3 years because of the lucrative TV contract they have with CBS/ NFLN.

    League is predictable in terms of who will make the playoffs and who will pick high in the draft. Some franchises know how to win, but some franchises still cannot understand how to build a contending team and make the same mistakes over and over. Some mistakes include firing coaching staffs every two years, overspending in free agency, and not drafting a franchise quarterback and weapons around him.

    I am starting to believe college football players are not entirely prepared for the NFL, especially the quarterbacks. I don’t understand why there are different style offenses in college from the NFL. Why don’t college coaches employ schemes commonly used in the NFL ? The college quarterbacks, amongst all players, tend to struggle more with adjusting to the NFL because of the different style of offense they inevitably need to learn. By that alone, they stunt their own growth in the NFL, which affects the teams they play for and affects how long they themselves can still be in the NFL. I have seen some running quarterbacks like Kaepernick and RG III who were once unstoppable because of their scrambling abilities, but when defenses started adjusting, they flamed out because they didn’t quite grasp passing fundamentals.

    The league thinks deflated footballs and smoking weed are far more severe than beating/murdering another person. They worked so hard (with basically no evidence) to get Brady suspended 4 games and automatically decided the fate of Josh Gordon in the blink of an eye, but they weren’t planning to do anything remotely similar to punishing Ray Rice and Greg Hardy until public pressure and threatening sponsors forced them to.

  178. People are cutting cable in droves to go with ONLY streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon.

    The NFL does not offer its product on these services.

    It is very difficult to legally watch NFL games online without having a contract with a cable service (e.g. DirecTV.)

    Therefore, people are cutting cable and watching games over the air or not watching them at all.

    Football isn’t worth $1,000 a year in cable bills, especially when you can ride to to the local sports bar or wing place and watch it for free.

    It took me a while to cut cable, and I only kept it for an extra year because of the NFL…but finally I cut, and now I find “alternative” ways to watch that are not picked up by ratings groups.

  179. The practice caps maintain the status quo. The good teams stay good, but even if the bad teams bring in new talent they don’t have sufficient time to gel and get the full benefits of improving TEAM play. The result is that there is no excitement; the same teams win and the same teams lose year after year.

    The NFL built up it’s base of female fans, but then continues to respond inadequately to domestic violence.

    The refs are so bad that at times the outcome of the whole game is changed making it seem like the games are rigged.

    All these things and more are making baseball more attractive to watch and football less.

  180. The NFL probably lost a million viewers in the greater St. Louis area. And probably gained zero in Los Angeles. Not a huge piece of the pie, but part of it.

  181. Cord cutters. Competition from online entertainment. Kids being steered away from football by nervous parents. Peyton’s retirement. Goodell repeatedly making decisions with no regard to true fans. Too many penalties and softening of the game. The election. And, yes, blowback from the anthem protests.

  182. Occum’s razor leads me to this hypothesis. The product on the field is slipping fast, and appears to be picking up speed toward that destination. Prima dona players who can’t or don’t perform, character issues, attitudes. Throw in absolutely tone deaf league management’s attempts to manipulate the game for some noble and some dubious reasons. Then there is the officiating. Don’t even get me started on the officiating. Not to mention coaches inability to call plays or clock manage. Fix that and then the game will mean something again.

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