Goodell on ratings: “We don’t dismiss any theory”

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Little is clear about the 2016 NFL season, including the reason(s) for the dramatic drop in TV viewership.

Asked by Gary Myers on WFAN’s Chalk Talk if the league has reached any conclusions regarding the reduction in ratings, Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “No, and I don’t think anybody can do that.”

Goodell added, after Myers rattled off various possible explanations for the decline (election year, quality of games, fans fed up with off-field misconduct, too many penalties, and the national anthem protests), “We don’t dismiss any theory, if you want to call it that.”

That’s a stake contrast from nine days ago, when Goodell insisted that the anthem protests are not impacting ratings.

The Commissioner then added another potential explanation for the phenomenon: “The media landscape is going through some very fundamental changes.”

Goodell generally attributed the drop to a “confluence of events,” and he reiterated that “we don’t dismiss any of them.”

He also focused on the positive; at a time when prime-time ratings have dropped by 36 percent over the last several years, the NFL’s ratings are up by 27 percent.

“It’s not always a straight line,” Goodell said. “You know there are bumps. . . . What we want to do is figure out how to engage our fans in the platforms they want to engage on and how do we engage them longer.”

Before doing that, it makes sense to come up with a reliable assessment of the factors. From polling to focus groups to surveys to any of the other ways of obtaining feedback as to why viewing habits have dramatically changed, the NFL has the resources and the incentives to get the answers.

The biggest problem for the league is that, if the anthem protests are a factor, there’s nothing the NFL can do about it — and any acknowledgement of the connection would underscore the power the players have. Which possibly would invite them to find more ways to wield their power.

143 responses to “Goodell on ratings: “We don’t dismiss any theory”

  1. Start fining and suspending anthem protesters and I’ll renew my Sunday Ticket. Until then, I’ll watch my home team and ignore the rest of the games.

    If my home team starts protesting anthems for attention, then I’ll quit watching them, too.

    There are millions of people doing this, and hopefully millions more start.

  2. Maybe people are really tired of the lying at the top..with EVERYTHING!! This buffoon has taken everything away from the viewers, from the hits, to the celebrations. Its become uninteresting. I still watch my team but everytime this guy speaks not a single fan believes anything he says. Yet the owners still keep him around

  3. Hey Rog, any consideration given to the over saturation of bad teams playing bad games? Last night was unwatchable and I didn’t watch.

    Mark Cuban for NFL Commish!

  4. It is mainly two reasons.

    1. Anthem protests
    2. Too many commercials.

    The drop in ratings causes commercials to reach less people, which means the NFL must give advertisers more time to make up. So there really are more commercials.

  5. Plain & simple officiating SUCKS!!! Ticky tacky calls are ridiculous!!! Goodell sending the teams to foreign countries where home team fans lose a game don’t help matters either!!! Goodell don’t care about NFL fans & now no one cares to even watch the games!!! Surprised!!!

  6. A theory I have is average players are getting massive deals and told they are superstars, but really aren’t. Giants D, Brock, Jags FA’s, et al. This offseason alone. So people are hyped to see the new ‘superstars’ but in general they’re decent players. People get bored with the bad football and do something else.

  7. did Myers mention too many commercials, lack of consistent discipline for players AND teams, league execs speaking out of both sides of their mouth?

    And for relating NFL ratings to prime time ratings….that’s fairly irrelevant in my book. I don’t watch very much TV. I either work in my garage/shop, or am reading up for my next project. The two women in my house watch a fair amount of TV, but don’t watch the NFL unless they’re watching it with me.

    And last night I didn’t bother.

  8. Florio, it is no secret that I feel it is primarily, the National Anthem protests & comments I have read, the majority agree. With that being said, is there not a way the union and NFL can come together, and insert into the players Code of Ethic, that they will stand??? I know you had an article, where they did get together and change something, which I cannot remember now. I know the union is concerned about the drop. I am asking you a serious question, that I would love to know the answer.

  9. How about the fact that the NFL has the absolute worst commissioner in the history of sports?

    Goodell: “We don’t dismiss any theory, if you want to call it that.”

  10. I don’t think the player’s have any more “power” over the owners than they already had – which is very little. The anthem protest is a two edged sword that cuts both the owners and players.

    If players are willing to wield such “power” they will soon realize a reduction is their pocketbooks via a reduction in the salary cap. The owners will be just fine – as always.

  11. Mr Goodell … please go quietly away.

    You have played a big part in the ruination of the NFL.

  12. When are we going to start seeing ‘Lost trust’ as one of the options on the various polls being conducted about the ratings decline? It gets brought up here and on other sites in comments and discussions but is largely ignored in polls.
    We hear plenty about alternative viewing/cord cutting which ignores the fact the league is bleeding share not just volume.

  13. I think with Daily fantasy getting regulated in states AND daily fantasy users realizing that “sharks vs minnows” is a real thing and they are wasting their money, people aren’t obligated to watch every game. The ratings drop is mostly gamblers not caring about random games anymore.

  14. I don’t understand why PFT keeps saying that there is nothing the NFL can do about players kneeling for the National Anthem. Is that something that is in the collective bargaining agreement? It may be one thing to try to stop Colin Kaepernick from attending a World Series game and kneel for the National Anthem, but to kneel before an NFL game while on the job, wearing the uniform, and representing the team that pays him seems to be another matter.

  15. “Telegram from Alaskan radar tower 6B, Mr. Goodell.”
    “Read it.”
    “Rog, it’s Kensil stop can prove league ratings drop is due to Patriots stop Just need $10 mil and 4th grade chemistry set stop”
    “… assign Josh Brown as his new bunk mate.”

  16. The problem is that there is too much bad football. There are more than 20 teams that already have no shot whatsoever at a championship and we’re not even halfway through the season. There are half a dozen good teams, half a dozen mediocre teams, and twenty bad teams.

    That’s not interesting.

  17. Bottom line, fans don’t trust the NFL anymore. They lied to us about spygate, lied to us about Ray Rice, and they lie to us weekly about the refs using Blandino. Not to mention, every fanbase thinks the refs are out to get their team every week. And the NFL has a habit of telling fans what they like ( rule changes). The NFL treats their fans as if they are too stupid to think for themselves and everyone is fed up.

  18. Want ratings to go up?
    1) get rid of these games on foreign soil and the travesty that is Thursday night football where teams that still haven’t recovered from play earlier in the week have to suit up and play.
    2) Stop changing the game to make scoring easier and passing more prominent and stop trying to eliminate one of the most exciting parts of football, the kickoffs after scoring.
    3) stop overpenalizing the game, especially the excessive celebration penalties. The referees are way too ‘look at us, we’re here and we affect the game too’ now and not as much facilitating the game. No one really wants to see a game where the yellow’s out every couple plays.

  19. Instead of paying direct tv 300.00 for the NFL Sunday ticket, you can stream games free online. That’s part of the reason ratings are down

  20. I don’t watch because I’m tired. I have NFL fatigue. It use to be that football season came and went. You loved it when it was here. You missed it when it was gone. And you got excited when it approached. Now with this never ending cycle of NFL coverage, I’m tired.

    It’s hard to care about a product that has over saturated it’s product. I can’t stay interested in a product that cares so little about itself that it can’t even figure out what a major component of it’s self is. After several years we still don’t know WTF a catch is. The inconsistencies of punishments (the stupidity of deflagrate still makes my head hurt), the numerous fines and suspensions that incomparison couldn’t be defended by a Trump surrogate. The prime time matchups suck. I hate Roger Goodell. My own team has blown for 15 years (Dolphins).

    If I thought for one second that the league or the broadcasters cared one second about the fan, I might actually care. But since every decision seems to only be about making money and expanding a watered down brand, I just can’t care.

    I can tell you that things like the protests or cleaning up the play so that scumbags who intentionally cheapshot and injury players are not at all the reason why I don’t care. I actually wish you would fine and suspend players who consistently cross the line much more harshly.

  21. “The biggest problem for the league is that, if the anthem protests are a factor, there’s nothing the NFL can do about it — and any acknowledgement of the connection would underscore the power the players have. Which possibly would invite them to find more ways to wield their power.”
    ————————————————–
    But the players would be shooting themselves in the foot. Declining ratings hurts the league’s revenue and a smaller revenue pie means the players get less, too.

    I don’t think Kap and the other players participating in this “protest” are thinking about how it could affect their own paychecks. Maybe they’re willing to sacrifice some money for their cause, but I highly doubt it.

  22. ace8842 says:
    Oct 28, 2016 11:44 AM
    It is mainly two reasons.

    1. Anthem protests
    2. Too many commercials.

    You forgot the 3rd reason: The officiating absolutely sucks. Too many penalties, and the fines are completely out of control. But you are right on the first two, its just not the only two reasons.

  23. Just my two cents but fans need to have a team to root for. And I don’t really mean just root for, but to live and die with. Even though I have lived in L.A. for over 25 years now I still live and die with the Steelers. When they win I am happy and when they lose I skulk and am miserable.

    When teams are moved around from city to city muscling for the highest taxpayer contributions to billionaires people really lose interest. When games are played in London, U.S. fans feel somewhat alienated.

    And more importantly with all these moves it becomes clear to fans how very little the NFL cares about them. Wearing pink shoes/gloves is just a depressingly transparent attempt at the lowest form of meaningless pandering.

    I’m not saying everybody is going to all of a sudden quit watching NFL football but it gets harder and harder to keep loving something that does not care for you or think you matter in the least little bit.

  24. Goodell get it through your head that we don’t like players making lots of money insulting us or too many ads or poor play and officiating or changing all the rules and we don’t like you

  25. Crush the union, get the players back on the practice field in pads so we don’t have to watch pre-season quality football until November……

  26. 1. Make player stand for the anthem and quit protesting our nation This would not be allowed by employees of at any other job.

    2. Stop penalizing players for celebrations.

    3. Quit

    Hail To The REDSKINS!!!

  27. .
    Goodell on ratings: “We don’t dismiss any theory”

    Except any theory which holds me and my team of 6 million dollar a year lackeys (Gardi, Blandino, Vincent, Kensil, Pash) accountable.

    Wash that down with your $10 draft.
    .

  28. “Little is clear about the 2016 NFL season, including the reason(s) for the dramatic drop in TV viewership.”

    You seem to be schilling for the league on this one Mike because the reasons are obvious. Starting with #1 –

    1. The most corrupt sports commissioner in modern American history. Fabricating 6 “scandals” including 2 against the Pats and those against the Saints, Redskins, Cowboys and Dolphins when he has been caught in blatant lie after blatant lie after blatant lie tends to alienate the fan base. He seems to think the fans are mindless sheep who believe his lies so he just keeps telling new ones to go with the old ones.

    2. Horrible officiating yet the league refuses to hire full time refs and give them the work every week of reviewing every game and penalty called / controversial non-call to make the games consistent.

    3. Watered down on field product with the defenses castrated in the name of fantasy football geekdom.

    4. Vast greed of the owners. They make billions from normal league operations. They now make billions more from their shadow ownership of the daily fantasy gambling site yet they still want to extort their billion dollar buildings from the taxpayer.

    5. Wretchedly bad Thursday night product.

    6. Domestic violence and other criminal activities by both players and owners.

  29. It’s almost entirely a result of the anthem protests. All the other problems have been around for years, but the ratings didn’t plummet until players started crapping on a symbol that has deep meaning for a lot of football fans.

  30. I’m patriotic, lean right, don’t like the protests, but I won’t stop watching football. As a matter of fact, watching Kapearnick sh1t the bed on Sundays is almost as fun as watching my Cowboys.

  31. I’m patriotic, lean right, don’t like the protests, but I won’t stop watching football. As a matter of fact, watching Kapearnick sh1t the bed on Sundays is almost as fun as watching my Cowboys.

  32. Watched probably 2.5 quarters last night. Not a fan of either team but Tennessee looks like a very well built team. Jags have names but stink

    I couldn’t believe how ugly the Jags jerseys are

  33. So many snarky feminine men running blogs and “manning” spots at ESPN. I’m tired of hearing their agenda. Honestly makes me think Soros and other comintern types are giving payola to these guys to emasculate sports. Much like Stalin destroyed the churches.

  34. I have been watching NFL football for 60 years.I know what is turning people away from NFL broadcasts. [1.]
    Far too many penalties and the Refs are not even on the same page.We don’t even know what a catch is now !A penalty every other play ruins the continuity of the game and dictates the scoring to the whim of the referees. [2.]
    Players who are more concerned about individual accolades than team play.Many spend far too much time off the field… incarcerated ! Add to that the dishonering of the Flag, and you turn off a great number of Americans…especially Veterans who fought and died for that Flag ![ I am a Disabled Vietnam Ea Vet]. [3.] TV Commercials so prevalent that many plays , including punts and kickoffs , are omitted to run the Ads ![4.] COST to attend games,is prohibitive for most working families.Not to mention inebriated fans fighting at the games and posing a threat to many others. [5.] Poor gameplay..today , most of the game simply are atrocious to watch and I think much of it has to do with a decided lack of padded practice ! [6.] NFL Football is entertainment and today we all are inundated with tens of dozens of choices in how we are able to spend our free time.So…the NFL is not game in town..[ pun intended !] I watch less than 20 percent of the games that I watched , just last year. I think the viewership of NFL games will continue to decline. db

  35. The players can be told not to protest on company time but goddell is so worthless he would be laughed at for doing it.

  36. So we got all of the obvious theories…

    Anthem protests, bad matchups, too many commercials…

    Did anyone stop to think about those Color Rush uniforms?

    Man those Jags uniforms last night made me sick to my stomach.

  37. Jag1959 asked about “lost trust”. I’ll add what about adding Roger Goodell to the list of reasons people have left the NFL. Brendafortheboyz says many comments infer it’s the Anthem issue. But again most include Goodell as being in their top three. Why doesn’t anyone ask Goodell whether he is considered one of the hindrances viewers are leaving because of. I know he is my top reason.

  38. Here’s the secret to making games tolerable: Sleep late Sunday, DVR your team if you are lucky enough to have them play in the 1pm slot, take your girl to brunch. Get her a Bellini. Have a Bloody Mary yourself. Stay off your phone. Get home at halftime. Fast forward through commercials. When game is over switch to Redzone. Shout upstairs for beers as necessary. Sleep on couch when the urge hits. Order pizza as you may wake up hungry.

  39. drudema says:
    Oct 28, 2016 11:56 AM

    I don’t watch because I’m tired. I have NFL fatigue. It use to be that football season came and went. You loved it when it was here. You missed it when it was gone. And you got excited when it approached. Now with this never ending cycle of NFL coverage, I’m tired.

    It’s hard to care about a product that has over saturated it’s product. I can’t stay interested in a product that cares so little about itself that it can’t even figure out what a major component of it’s self is. After several years we still don’t know WTF a catch is. The inconsistencies of punishments (the stupidity of deflagrate still makes my head hurt), the numerous fines and suspensions that incomparison couldn’t be defended by a Trump surrogate. The prime time matchups suck. I hate Roger Goodell. My own team has blown for 15 years (Dolphins).

    If I thought for one second that the league or the broadcasters cared one second about the fan, I might actually care. But since every decision seems to only be about making money and expanding a watered down brand, I just can’t care.

    I can tell you that things like the protests or cleaning up the play so that scumbags who intentionally cheapshot and injury players are not at all the reason why I don’t care. I actually wish you would fine and suspend players who consistently cross the line much more harshly.

    ————————–

    With the exception that I am a Pats fan and not a Dolphins fan, I am with you 100%. Your comments nicely summed up my feelings about the NFL. Thanks.

  40. There is nobody that is not watching the games because a few players are expressing their constitutional rights. Nobody. Anybody who tells you that is why they aren’t watching is either lying about not watching or lying about why they aren’t watching.

    And if I am somehow wrong and there are four or five people out there actually not watching football games because the players are not standing for the national anthem, those are the dumbest four or five people in the country. But there is no way there are enough people that dumb to have any real impact on the ratings.

    The NFL owes the decline in its ratings to the public’s growing weariness of its arrogance and hypocrisy on issues of player health and player conduct, coupled with declining quality of play and oversaturation.

    Insane nationalists with their panties in a bunch over anthem protests are trying to take credit for the work of the people doing the real work of driving the ratings down for principled reasons.

  41. There is nobody that is not watching the games because a few players are expressing their constitutional rights. Nobody. Anybody who tells you that is why they aren’t watching is either lying about not watching or lying about why they aren’t watching.

    And if I am somehow wrong and there are four or five people out there actually not watching football games because the players are not standing for the national anthem, those are the dumbest four or five people in the country. But there is no way there are enough people that dumb to have any real impact on the ratings.

    The NFL owes the decline in its ratings to the public’s growing weariness of its arrogance and hypocrisy on issues of player health and player conduct, coupled with declining quality of play and oversaturation.

    Insane nationalists with their panties in a bunch over anthem protests are trying to take credit for the work of the people doing the real work of driving the ratings down for principled reasons.

  42. Over saturation of the game, whiny players, money hungry owners and league. There is nothing wrong with being profitable but it’s so transparent that money is more important than the game and the fans.
    The concussion stuff has not done the sport itself any favors either.

  43. The biggest problem for the league is that, if the anthem protests are a factor, there’s nothing the NFL can do about it
    _________________________________________
    They could handle it in the same way the Adam Silver and the NBA have and not let it happen.

    The media is giving the NBA a free pass though because it isn’t viewed in the mass media as a too big to fail entity like the NFL.

    See how long it takes you to remove the comment

  44. The anthem truthers can express their opinions if they want. Ratings weren’t affected while the NFL spit on the military for years, charging them to display colors, etc. I doubt the ratings would bounce back if the NFL started legislating any change in how players act while the song is performed.

    The NFL just doesn’t compel viewers to watch as much as they did. The flow of the game seems a more likely culprit. There is some room for protesting protesters though I guess.

  45. So the players might try even more absurd things if the NFL concedes that their current actions have negatively influenced ratings? Gee, what a smart lot they are. Undermine the product your employer sells. I wonder how that’ll work out for contract values?

  46. “The media landscape is going through some very fundamental changes.”

    Yeah, that must be it. Nothing to do with the buffoonery and questionable shenanigans in the Park Avenue office.

  47. stevejjones says:
    Oct 28, 2016 12:08 PM
    Here’s the secret to making games tolerable: Sleep late Sunday, DVR your team if you are lucky enough to have them play in the 1pm slot, take your girl to brunch. Get her a Bellini. Have a Bloody Mary yourself. Stay off your phone. Get home at halftime. Fast forward through commercials. When game is over switch to Redzone. Shout upstairs for beers as necessary. Sleep on couch when the urge hits. Order pizza as you may wake up hungry.
    __________________________________
    Or you could just not be a bum and wake up and get breakfast done before 1 like I do. Brunch is for lazy people.

  48. The game is just too long and not swift enough. Instant replays scrutinize everything. Simplify the rule, especially the catch rule (make the ball cannot touch the damn ground, for example). The game used to end in about three hours and now close to four hours. The high amount of commercials is a result of too many game stoppages. Shorten the play clock, for example. Enforce the college overtime rule or something similar (I would just do a shootout of 2 point conversions in OT which will force coaches to win the game and go for 2pc in regulation if it ends in a TD.)

    I can only speak for myself. I don’t care about all the other noises a la flag protest, suspensions, fines, etc… I still watch the game because it’s the only sport I enjoy watching. But the game itself is getting too damn slow, even slower than baseball! Make the game faster and swifter and I will continue to watch.

  49. Not enough practice reps (from Steve Young)
    Semi-pro refs
    Too many commercials
    Too many teams/not enough quality players; say goodbye to Jacksonville and Buffalo/or San Diego or Tennessee or Arizona

  50. Hey Roger if you really think that the Anthem protest aren’t having an effect on the ratings, then you’re dumber than I thought.

  51. brkyle89 says:
    Oct 28, 2016 11:52 AM
    I don’t understand why PFT keeps saying that there is nothing the NFL can do about players kneeling for the National Anthem. Is that something that is in the collective bargaining agreement? It may be one thing to try to stop Colin Kaepernick from attending a World Series game and kneel for the National Anthem, but to kneel before an NFL game while on the job, wearing the uniform, and representing the team that pays him seems to be another matter
    ————————————————————–
    The problem is that standing for the National Anthem is not in the Players Code of Ethics handbook, like I believe it is for basketball, via the CBA. That is why I asked the question of Florio, in my above post. I believe the owners/coaches could make the players show respect ie., Jerry Jones/JG, and Rex Ryan!! The NFL and Goodell cannot due to the current Ethics handbook. There could be ramifications back on the NFL. This is how I understand it…

  52. Roger,

    Why don’t you try looking at yourself in the mirror? The answer might be there! You might also try reading the Washington Post (Sally Jenkins Article (October 26, 2016) titled: ” Goodell Has Shown Both Incompetence, Deceit -fulness, ” where it is stated that “Roger will go down as a
    figure of historical ineptitude”.

  53. Games are too long. WAAYY too many commercials!

    My favorite play in football is touchdown>commercial>kickoff fair catch>commercial

    Thumbs up how many would pay monthly for a service with no commercials and 2 hour games?

    Pay attention NFL

    Soccer players are the highest paid in the world and there’s no commercials and just a halftime.

  54. The election doesn’t make any sense, we’re expected to believe that all day on Sunday’s people that always watched football are no longer doing so because they are sitting around talking about the Election?? No!! It’s because Goodell has single handily ruined the game – it’s the protests – that he does nothing about – it’s the horrible match ups because most of the teams suck – except of the course the Patriots who Goodell tried to destroy in order to make the game better!

  55. Remember the XFL? Sure, Vince McMahon is a buffoon and worse, but his vision was for the XFL to be the “fun” league – hence “HE HATE ME” was born. They also gave birth to the skycam-on-a-string thing that now graces every national telecast. Vince “got it” when it came to making the game fun. Goodell seems to be his polar opposite, and it’s turning fans away and making players hate him.

    And get rid of the kneeling for the anthem nonsense. First amendment rights are great and all, but don’t apply to while you’re on the clock, in uniform, representing your employer. Don’t believe it? Try something similar at your job and see how it works out. The vast majority of NFL fans despise this “action” and it’s definitely turning some viewers away.

  56. I still watch and attend games so my view probably don’t count

    Too many people heap blame on Goodell. He just does what 32 owners want done folks. Too many reasons to put a finger on one main thing but I feel the following in no particular order are some reasons
    1 Letting an employee on company time drag down the flag and national anthem
    2. Really bad officiating
    3 Permitting officials to make mistakes, sometimes game changers, with no suspension or firing of officials
    4 Giving officials too much power and heir decisions cannot be challenged by anyone
    5 Commercials. So much so I would never buy a Ford, Chevy or Toyota anything ever again
    6 Thursday night football
    7 Crazy amount of injuries before the season is half over
    8 bad coaches. NFL/teams just hire coaches that were fired elsewhere and expect the fans to like it. Been going on for years
    9 most definitely a watered down product. Outside of a handful of teams the others are mediocre to pitiful and has been that way.
    10. A sour one. People fed up with Billionairs having taxpayers pay for a new stadium.
    11 players with huge contracts being suspended for drugs and pers. The money being thrown at players that simply are not worth it.

  57. .
    And another thing :

    ” What we want to do is figure out how to engage our fans in the platforms they want to engage on and how do we engage them longer. ”

    —–
    This is how Goodell talks and thinks What kind of Pro Football Talk is that? If you talk like like that any sports bar in America, you’ll end up on the PUP list.
    .

  58. Why is it that whenever somebody in the media tries to get to the bottom of it, their list of reasons never includes too many conmercials despite the fact that you can read the comments on any of these articles and hear direct from the people who aren’t watching that they’re not watching because there are TOO MANY COMMERCIALS!

    Yes, I know, we can’t have less commercials because commercials make money, but the people who buy those commercials are going to stop buying those commercials of the ratings keep going into the toilet. So guess what TV networks? You’re going to have to cut back on the commercials in order to guarantee your audience and still be able to sell those commercials.

    Let me reiterate TOO MANY COMMERCIALS.

  59. The problem with the ratings is that football has become watered down with every team pretty much running the same spread type offenses with 4 and 5 wide on almost every play. It’s slowly becoming 7-on-7 or flag football!

    If every team runs the same offenses and defenses to prevent it then the game becomes boring and every game looks the same with no drama, intriguing match ups or identity.

    Until recent years, teams had identity, played with swagger and it was all about the match ups. West coast offense of the 49ers vs. Hard noes defenses of the Giants, greatest show on turf of the rams vs. dominate defenses like the Ravens and bruising run offenses, etc. This created drama and great games!

    Until teams figure this out and start having identities again, then people will continue to tune out a boring, cookie cutter and predictable NFL product!

  60. I hate the protests. This week there was a game Thursday night, on Sunday a 9:30 AM game in London, seven 1:oo PM games, one 4:05 PM Game, one 4:30 PM game, one 8:30 PM game, an 8:30 PM game Monday night with four teams on BYE…you have over saturated the market with crappy teams. You give a hefty fine for an end zone celebration but no suspension for cheap shots by known, repeat offenders (see Burfict & Suh), and there are numerous other reasons for the drop in interest. The NFL is killing the goose that lays the Golden Eggs!

  61. I can’t believe the depth of his stupidity. If you want to know the reasons for the drop in ratings, just read all the comments the fans are making on websites like this. We are the people who used to watch the NFL. We have been telling you time and time again why we aren’t watching anymore or are watching less than we used to. Come on, Goodell! I thought you might have a little bit of a brain in that lying head of yours!

  62. I am adding Mara to the Goodell problem. The more we see how this plays out, the worse it looks. Mara is scum. The league went after two of his biggest rivals and hit them hard on uncapped year spending and he also told Goodell to “go get ’em” with respect to Kraft and Brady. Between Mara and the games the Jets have played and their infiltration in the league office, it just stinks in New York. Let’s not forget the Mara’s employed lowlifes like Lawrence Taylor and couldn’t wait to sign Christian Peter after Myra Kraft demanded the Patriots renounce his rights. To kick sand in everyone’s face, Mara then hires a wife beater in Josh Brown and finds out about domestic abuse and finds away around the mandatory 6-game suspension for domestic abuse. Mara and Goodell are attached at the hip and one is as scummy as the other.

  63. .

    Get rid of Thursday games Sunday/Monday ONLY

    get rid of London games Sunday games start no earlier than 1pm

  64. NOBODY wants to hear from or see this guy…..
    & 345 Park ave is probably more corrupt than our own US Government…. Yeah, let that one sink in!!!!
    Lies & frauds…. It’s getting OLD!!!!

  65. .

    celebration rules are ridiculous

    The only player allowed to show excitement for a TD is Gronk. RIGGED!
    the whole thing is pathetic. OMG wah the opposing team is happy they scored, but we are sad, unfair!

  66. .
    Returning kickoffs, do u hear the crowd ROAR when someone breaks one?? thats called EXCITEMENT and the nfl doesnt want that they want to get rid of it.
    if owners wanted to get rid of it why dont they dictate the player to let it go out back of endzone and or fair catch it 100%?

  67. Did anyone notice ALL players in the World Series were standing during the anthem…..I’m sure MLB TOLD them to stand or else.
    MLB knows what happens when you DISS the fans….you NEVER get them back…its been proven and their ratings have suffered ever sense

    The NFL is on the same collision course

  68. Not mentioned much here, but for me it’s all the injuries that cause teams to play without their best lineups.
    I’d like to watch a game where the best talent plays.
    NFL games are becoming mainly a matter of “survival” instead of talent.
    All the stoppages for commercials and other are another factor.

  69. I don’t understand why people continue to bury their heads in the sand and try to dismiss the protests having any impact on the ratings.

    It’s ridiculous and I don’t know why it’s happening. Are the NFL and the media pundits just trying to be overly PC thinking admitting the obvious would be offensive?

    Polling has been done and shows that the protests have had an impact. It’s undeniable.

    Admitting the obvious doesn’t mean it’s the only reason, or the main reason. It’s just so strange to me, these guys can all admit that the matchups can play a role, the presidential debates can, baseball playoff games can, but protests…oh no! no, no, no! Impossible!

  70. Commercials, commercials, commercials and the same ones over and over and over in a litany of dreck.

  71. Did anyone catch the sales pitch video shown before the game last night? Can’t remember the former players name that narrated it but he tried to sell the “Americas Game” philosophy. They’re now resorting to vids to get people to watch. Shouldn’t the game sell itself?

  72. “We wont dismiss any theory about the Patriots. If a 4 year old kid says Tom Brady stole his candy, we’ll put Brady on the commish’s exempt list and sort the thing out a couple years down the line.”

  73. I blame it on the schedule makers and you don’t need to look any further that last nights Jaguars-Titans match. Really is that a prime time worthy game??? Also get rid of the division schedule and go back to the first place scheduling. I am so tired of seeing teams play the same NFC/AFC division. Who wants to see New England play Cleveland? How about first place AFC teams play all first Place NFC teams and so on??? Maybe once the games improve the ratings will follow.

  74. Ratings are down because we now spend more time covering who and how many people protested the anthem instead of the game itself…

  75. I will not watch a single game until the vile anthem protesters and their obnoxious far left wing politics are out of the game. I do not tune into a sporting event to be insulted.

  76. Reasons for ratings decline:

    1. GOODELL
    2. BLANDINO
    3. OWNERS
    4. REFEREES (SEE ALSO BLANDINO & GOODELL)
    5. HORRIBLE PLAY ON THE FIELD.

    ITS NOT COMPLICATED. THOSE ARE THE 5 REASONS. There is no theory you clown. Thiae are exactly why

  77. If you just look at some of the comments here you’d see that most fans have not given up football because of the protest. However a good size sample have stopped watching games that their team was not participating in because of them. That in my opinion might be enough to effect the ratings quite a bit

  78. Television ratings are down for all networks, all programs, not just football, by double digits over last year. It’s easy to Google.

    Network television is a dying medium, heading in the same direction as print newspapers.

  79. so you will watch if the league has wife beaters… drug users.. people killing themselves due to concussions… league run by a egomaniac with no consistency is how he dolls out punishment.. but a guy taking a knee in pre game during the anthem is just more than you can bare? hmmm Merica in a nutshell.

  80. I don’t understand why Mike keeps insisting “there is nothing the NFL can do” about the anthem protests. Every employer sets the terms of employment, including dress code, work hours, etc. If a McDonald’s worker decides to engage in a political protest while on the clock, he would be fired. Similarly, the various NFL teams can set the terms of employment, including requiring their employees (who are representing their brand and wearing their uniform) to stand for the anthem. If the player refuses, he can be fired, just like any other worker.
    Is Mike saying that any employee is free to engage in a political protest while at work without repercussions? If so, that is plain wrong.

  81. I have a theory…. How about this…. Everything about this sport is “unlikable” now. The players are unlikable, the teams are unlikable, the refs are unlikable, tv experience has way too many commercials making it unlikable, there are way too many penalties which make watching an unlikable experience, the front office is untrustworthy and unlikable, players and coaches whine and complain, ESPN is untrustworthy and unlikable, the fans are uneducated and unlikable…. your team wins and they are “cheaters”… unlikable experience. The announcers are unlikable, fantasy football is unlikable…. everything is unlikable about this sport now.

  82. Polling has been done… yeah any joker at a bar can tell you he isn’t watching the NFL because of the protests in the mean time his arse isn’t standing up and taking off his hat during the televised anthem because he is too busy stuffing his face with wings and beer. Fake patriotism always turns up when you don’t have to do anything but talk about how patriotic you are. If everyone who was upset at the protest donated 5 bucks to help homeless vets we wouldn’t have any homeless vets.

  83. PS stop comparing elite athletes to “McDonald’s workers”.. you can pick any guy off the street to work at Micky D’s.. try finding another Von Miller should he decide he wants to take a knee.. isn’t happening. Worse players will kill ratings faster than anything else.

  84. Goodell: “We won’t dismiss any theory, but we know for sure it isn’t the anthem protests.”

    I’m not so sure that it IS the anthem protests, but I’m pretty sure Goodell already dismissed that option before.

  85. If it is tied to the National Anthem protests, and I think it is because the NFL fan base is heavily conservative, the players can “realize” their power. Their power to lower all their salaries when the ratings hurt the next network negotiation and the scarlet cap actually drops!!

    No respect for the fragile golden goose.

    As a society we are still evolving, growing and we obviously still have problems that need addressing. But I grew up with a clear message, NEVER disrespect the flag!!!

  86. buffalosunshine says:
    Oct 28, 2016 1:20 PM
    Polling has been done… yeah any joker at a bar can tell you he isn’t watching the NFL because of the protests in the mean time his arse isn’t standing up and taking off his hat during the televised anthem because he is too busy stuffing his face with wings and beer. Fake patriotism always turns up when you don’t have to do anything but talk about how patriotic you are. If everyone who was upset at the protest donated 5 bucks to help homeless vets we wouldn’t have any homeless vets.

    ___________________

    You’d be surprised how many Americans respect the anthem, whether it’s on TV, radio, or in person, many of us will stop what we’re doing and listen to every single word. Just because you don’t feel the same way about your country, doesn’t mean you’re right. Check the polls and listen to the people, ‘America’s Sport’ is nothing without the proud American viewers.

  87. Maybe forcing your league’s best player to miss a quarter of the season for no reason at all except to prove that you can might have something to do with it.

  88. dannyabramowitz says:
    Oct 28, 2016 1:17 PM

    I don’t understand why Mike keeps insisting “there is nothing the NFL can do” about the anthem protests. Every employer sets the terms of employment, including dress code, work hours, etc. If a McDonald’s worker decides to engage in a political protest while on the clock, he would be fired. Similarly, the various NFL teams can set the terms of employment, including requiring their employees (who are representing their brand and wearing their uniform) to stand for the anthem. If the player refuses, he can be fired, just like any other worker.
    —————–

    That hypothetical McDonald’s worker is an at-will employee. He can be let go at any time for any reason, or even for no reason at all.

    NFL players are members of a union, under CONTRACT, and covered by a collective bargaining agreement. They have rights that at-will employees don’t have. Can they be terminated for political speech? ONLY IF THE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT SAYS SO. And it doesn’t. So no, they can’t be fired for it.

    You don’t know as much as you think you know.

  89. when I was growing up in elementary school their was a classmate who never said the pledge or sang the anthem as long as I knew them. They sat quietly while others did. There was no outrage or media coverage or protestors or anything like that. This person is a Jehovahs Witness and her religion did not allow her to participate. I guess if things aren’t right in front of people’s faces on tv they don’t care. And religion is an excuse for anything. If an anthem protest is enough to enrage you to the point you boycott something as stupid as the NFL, you might want to never leave your house. If a national anthem protest is enough to get people to switch channels then the NFL had a huge problem before this and his name is roger.

  90. buffalosunshine says:
    Oct 28, 2016 1:14 PM
    so you will watch if the league has wife beaters… drug users.. people killing themselves due to concussions… league run by a egomaniac with no consistency is how he dolls out punishment.. but a guy taking a knee in pre game during the anthem is just more than you can bare? hmmm Merica in a nutshell.

    _____________________

    Where did anyone say they were okay with all the above? ‘America in a nutshell’ is everyone thinking their opinion is automatically right, regardless of polls, stats, facts. Learn to listen and you may eventually be as smart as you think you are.

  91. “Vince McMahon is a buffoon and worse”

    Stupid comment. Vince Mcmahon is an astute businessman. He gives his audience what they want and it shows in the contents of his wallet. Now the audience may be buffoons, but that’s a completely different story.

  92. For me it’s simple: too many commercials. I don’t have enough time to watch more than maybe 1 game per week because many of them approach 4 hours long.

  93. By the time the owners realize they need to send him packing, they will be in a tail spin that might take years to recover from

  94. glac1 says:
    Oct 28, 2016 11:58 AM

    Crush the union, get the players back on the practice field in pads so we don’t have to watch pre-season quality football until November……

    —————————————–

    Amen.

  95. Ok, I know it has been said a lot. Commercials, Commercials , Commercials. I realized this year, and it is becoming worse as the year progresses, We are missing plays because of commercials. The NFL is literally replacing game time with commercials. It makes me angry when there was an interception during an Eagles game, but I found out through instant replay because a commercial ran over the gameplay. This is the problem.

  96. Focus groups? Multiple platforms? Engagement? Ugh. Let me save you two years and several millions dollars:

    1. Stop letting players disrespect the flag. They are employees and their conduct reflects on their teams and the NFL. They can make their voices heard somewhere else.

    2. Fix the terrible rules (catch rule, fumble out of end zone rule, to name two).

    3. Fix the terrible, incompetent officiating by holding officials accountable with fines and eventually, termination.

    4. Make all plays and portions of plays and certain penalties (if not all) reviewable.

    5. Fix your product—which has been full of bad football. Work with the NFLPA to allow more practices in pads and more practice in general. Let the players play unless they commit egregious penalties in games. Stop suspending players for pot or for having too much of a protein in their blood. Get rid of Thursday night or scale it back. Stop fining and flagging players for having a little harmless fun, like after a touchdown.

    Problem solved.

  97. The reason for the drop in overall ratings is as follows:

    1. Thursday Night Football
    2. Thursday Night Football
    3. A change in viewer habits that doesn’t promote watching a 3.5 hour product with only 20% of that time being worthwhile (ie. ya know, the actual game action)
    4. Thursday Night Football

    TNF was the beginning of the end of the reign of supremacy for the NFL. If you oversaturate the market with a product, it is bound to cause decreases in said product. I stopped watching live NFL action about 4 years ago. I DVR and would watch a 1:00 game around 5-5:30 (after I was able to enjoy beautiful fall weekends with family, etc) and am finished at 7:00…just in time for dinner. I finally cut loose of Sunday Ticket just this year (after having it since 2001) because I found myself just not that interested in the games anymore. Our fantasy league is in its 22nd season and the amount of participation (league stories, message board posts, etc.) has markedly dropped in last 4-5 years. Just not that interested in the NFL anymore. I now pay attention on a much more casual level as opposed to the “die-hard” days.

  98. The media thinks it should be about them instead of the game and the commercials/replays.

    Since, play is stopped so much already. The play clock should run after an incomplete pass except for after the two minute warning of the half and game.

    The value of timeouts except to ask for a replay and the two minute warning means nothing anymore.

  99. softandgentleraiderboy says:
    Oct 28, 2016 2:15 PM
    Anthem protests? Really? Is the singing of the anthem more important to you than the game itself? Wow, just wow!

    The Anthem and RESPECT for our country is 1000 times more important than ANY game

  100. so you go to Pro Football Talk to tell everyone how you aren’t watching the games because of the anthem protests… Won’t watch the games… follow the daily news on Pro Football Talk.. hmmm

  101. For me I can honestly state three reasons I watch less football, 1), the stupidity of the NFL deflategate investigation which they could have resolved 2 years ago with a fine and 2.) the deals they put together with cable providers which limit access from mobile and 3.) the cost for mobile streaming though the NFL app

  102. “We don’t dismiss any theory, if you want to call it that.”

    If Goodell dismissed the invalid theories, he’d only be left with himself.

  103. all of you watch NFL Football… that is the point.. it isn’t because of anything other than people who love the game are dying and being replaced by people who see it as a violent thing of the past.. it will happen slowly but it happens to all things in this world… who is fighting at UFC 205 again?

  104. Was there a game on last Sunday night? I wouldn’t know. I was busy watching the Walking Dead, a show I get more entertainment from in 5 minutes than I do in three painful hours of watching an NFL football game. And best of all, no anthem protests or far left wing politics shoved in my face!

  105. For every percentage point of viewers that the NFL loses, the owners should dock Goodell’s pay $1 million dollars.

    I bet he would figure it out pretty quick.

  106. Remember a few years back when Calvin Johnson caught that game winning TD pass in the back of the end zone with 24 seconds left on opening day in Chicago?

    I was there that day. That was a catch. Plain and simple. That was a touchdown. It’s terrible that was stolen from the lions.

    Calls like that aren’t just game changers, they’re season changers. Regime changers!

    I haven’t watched a down of football in 2 years.

  107. All I read is “FIRE ROGER”

    Okay. Fine. He’s fired.

    You still have to deal with the 32 owners who don’t care about you or me and will just hire Roger 2.0 or worse

  108. Take everything that the league was about in 2003 – rules, celebrations, having defense matter, no Goodell – and go back to that. Ta-da! Fixed.

  109. The anthem protests don’t bother me at all, but the following do:

    1. The rules have turned the game into a passing contest, problem is most of the QB’s in the league are hard to watch. Viewers have been sold on the likes of Brady and Manning, but most games feature the likes of Bortles and Keenum.

    2. It bears repeating, the game has turned into a QB contest, but most the QB’s aren’t good and their teams have little chance of postseason success. The game used to be more multifaceted, and teams could succeed or stand out in more ways.

    3. You can’t smile after scoring without getting hit with a ‘unsportsmanlike’ conduct penalty.

    4. This one doesn’t bother me, but the necessary (and life-saving) changes in rules to protect players’ heads have impacted the visceral appeal of the game for some/many viewers.

  110. When it comes to PR it seems like they’re always lacking common sense.

    They won’t let Dallas wear stickers to honor fallen police officers but #7 wears socks showing police as pigs at practice and nothing is done.

    Botched all of DV cases.

    The list goes on and on.

    It just makes the league unlikeable.

  111. The product is diluted too. My viewing habits haven’t changed. I watch my team and the playoffs and Super Bowl even when they aren’t in it. I just not interested in the random Chargers vs Texans on a Thursday night or the Dolphins vs Falcons in London on Sunday morning.

  112. I’s beg to differ, he accepts whatever theory can fit in his tiny mind. He opposes high school Physics that says temperature affects pressure. Now if there’s a theory that someone, somewhere, can be screwed out of more money that make money for the NFL, now those theories he’s very good at.

  113. The anthem thing is annoying and juvenile, but it has nothing to do with why I haven’t watched a game in real time in 5 years.

    The biggest is commercials, especially when we miss something major, like a blocked punt. I also hate that they give you 10 seconds of watching players interact after the game and then, since it’s been 60 seconds since the last commercial, they break to another one.

    Second is officiating. These new “player safety” rules are nonsense, because they aren’t about player safety to begin with. What they do is create ever-larger gray areas for refs to “interpret”. Enter bias.

    Third, but slightly lesser, is the caliber of the booth and analyst guys. With a couple of exceptions, the NFL should be horrified at the crap they put out there.

    I still watch, but never before halftime or thereabouts. It’s sad how quickly I can catch up.

  114. Roger your refs do not know how to call a game today. They do not know what a catch is or what a fumble is today. PI’s calls are not any clearer. Some teams can put hands on players and other teams can’t run too close to a WR without a flag.How do you get 23 calls wrong in one game ? The Jags sent 23 calls into the league when the league limit is 10 a week. You have to be trying to get 23 calls wrong. The packers received 23 calls in a 27-23 game. It is safe to say without those calls the packers do not win that game. That is what id wrong with the NFL. Fans believe the fix is in.

  115. TD, extra point – commercial. Kick off – commercial. Replay of a call – commercial Enough. Poor match ups. Poor play, much worse officiating.
    Calls that make fans question the integrity of the NFL. That is what is wrong. Actually almost everything.

  116. Here’s a theory…

    The NFL is refusing to release PSI information collected during the 2015 season because it will show that the NFL made a huge mistake when the NFL wrongly blamed the Patriots for what cold weather does naturally to footballs.

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