The NFL made a brilliant move in Week 12, relegating Patriots-Jets to the afternoon and sliding Chiefs-Broncos into the Sunday night slot. If the league hadn’t exercised its flexing powers, the dip in ratings would have been disastrous.
Via SportsBusiness Daily, the much more compelling, competitive, and exciting five-quarter AFC West battle generated ratings a whopping 27 percent behind last year’s Week 12 Sunday night matchup. The only consolation comes from the fact that, in Week 12 of the 2015 season, the Sunday night game featured the 10-0 Patriots against the eventual Super Bowl-champion Broncos. (Denver won the game in overtime.)
It’s nevertheless a sobering development, given the victory lap that 345 Park Avenue performed after Thursday’s Washington-Dallas game drew the highest regular-season audience in 21 years. Even with the game of the day moved into a prime-time slot, a dramatic loss in audience in comparison to 2015 couldn’t be avoided.
With the election nearly three weeks into the rear-view mirror, Washington-Dallas becomes the aberration; the trend is a shrinkage of TV ratings that at some point may need to be regarded as a new normal.