For national attention, eight teams have low expectations or populations

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If you get a lot of prime-time games, it’s usually because you’re good, interesting, or at least from a city with a lot of people.

So it’s worth noting the teams on the other end of the spectrum, who are hidden away from public view.

While the Bills are the only team shut out of national prime-time audiences this season, there are eight other teams who make a single appearance in the highest-profile games.

The Cardinals, Panthers, Bengals, Lions, Jaguars, Dolphins, Buccaneers, and Titans each make one appearance in a prime-time game.

Of that group, half of them are isolated into Thursdays early in the season when games are only shown on NFL Network, before the Fox national package kicks in (Panthers-Bucs in Week Two and Jaguars-Titans in Week Three). The Cardinals have a Thursday against the 49ers, while the Bengals, Lions and Dolphins appear on Mondays.

Part of the justification can be viewed through a competitive lens, as none of the eight single-dippers made the playoffs last year (and only the Panthers, Jaguars, and Titans made the postseason in 2017).

But the teams also represent some of the league’s smaller markets.

Based on the size of television markets, the Bucs are the top team (11th), followed by the Cardinals (12), Dolphins (16), Panthers (23), Titans (27), Bengals (35), and Jaguars (42). The Bills reside in the 52nd-ranked television market.

For teams outside the top-10 markets, you better be good or make a lot of moves in the offseason if you want attention (and many coaches and players are just fine playing on Sunday at 1 p.m.).

31 responses to “For national attention, eight teams have low expectations or populations

  1. Wait, I’m confused.
    Don’t the Panthers still have Super Man?
    Surely that’s a national audience draw.

  2. Limited TV, the worst of the TV announcers and rarely does a close officiating call goes their way when playing large market teams.

  3. The only reason thanksgiving at 4:00 is so high in ratings is because Everybody is at home eating dinner with the TV on while they eat. So they get each individual household counting .
    Not very many people actually eat thanksgiving dinner in front of the TV unless their team is playing

  4. Why does the size of a team’s home TV market matter? Prime time games are broadcast nationally. So, the team with the NFL’s #2 defense, an exciting young QB, and who made more free agent signings than about anyone doesn’t have a prime time game? I see …… said the blind man.

  5. I like the Vegas Raiders comment… I wonder how many games they will have I bet 2-3 a year for 5 years, right up until the move back to Oakland.

  6. There’s a reason they aren’t in prime time. It’s called ratings! The networks want people watching so they can sell more commercials. It’s harder to sell their product when few people are watching.

  7. Detroit’s had plenty of PT games the last 3 or so seasons after having gotten better and as with Red Wings fans, Lions fans are everywhere. Not sold in market size but definitely a performance dealio…Lions trend down the last two seasons and voila – one MNF game and T-day.

  8. Notice all 3 Florida teams are on that list…

    The Dolphins and Jags are finally making changes to hopefully change that and be intriguing to watch this season…
    The Bucs seem to think keeping the same ‘low talent’ players and just changing coaches will somehow make a playoff team…SMH!

  9. The reason for getting such a high SB rating in Buffalo is because their fans watch the game imagining that it ends with their precious Bills finally holding the Lombardi Trophy. Alas, reality sets in and they’re left facing TB12 hoisting yet another trophy.

  10. tyelee says:
    April 19, 2019 at 5:32 pm
    Notice all 3 Florida teams are on that list…

    The Bucs seem to think keeping the same ‘low talent’ players and just changing coaches will somehow make a playoff team…SMH!

    ‘Low talent’ players? Get a clue. They had the #1 Passing Offense and the #3 Total Offense last year. You don’t achieve that without some of the top skill players in the league.

  11. ahs2 says:
    April 19, 2019 at 4:52 pm
    … as with Red Wings fans, Lions fans are everywhere.

    Red Wings? Ok, yeah. But they’re a team with a winning history. The Lions have a terrible history. Nobody wants to see them. People have always been sick to death of having to put up with them every Thanksgiving. If not for the fact that they were grandfathered in by taking that game back when nobody else cared about it or wanted it, they would have been pushed out of it long ago. I grew up in Toledo, Ohio where we were close enough to receive Detroit’s TV broadcast channels through the air before cable TV. But I can tell you this: Toledo’s CBS (back when they had the NFC) affiliate NEVER broadcast Lions’ games (because nobody would have watched them). Instead we always got the best NFC matchup of the week, which meant we got to see Roger Staubach, Fran Tarkenton, etc. and NOT ??? (whoever it was QB-ing the Lions). People have never cared about the Lions.

  12. Good news for teams in the fact that they have adoring fans (which all teams do) and are promoted to prime-time status, but I think most teams would rather play at regular times…

  13. This Dolphins fan says thank you. When my beloved team is in the national spotlight they have been destroyed on the scoreboard the past 2 years. While it sucks to be a fan in 2019… keeping a low profile might be best. They will have over $120M, all the Suh, Quinn and Tannehilll money is off the books and will no doubt have a top Draft pick. In the meantime, I hope to enjoy “competitive” games on SNL,MNF and TNF this year.

  14. As long as I don’t have to hear the same prime-time commentator anecdotes over and over, I’ll take 1pm games.

  15. How about The Armpit of America, Cleveland? What is their population or attraction to their number of wins slated at 8? Not good. Not Interesting. Armpit of America.

  16. The BuffaLO market is a bit deceiving IMO. Two of our local channels are shown in Toronto.
    Plus I want all 1 P.M. games.

  17. Drafting Mahomes at 10 instead of trading the pick to KC could have put some fannies in seats and put Buffalo in contention, but I guess Buffalo didn’t need a QB.

  18. The NFL I thought based schedules and nationally televised games on wins and loses from the previous seasons, How then do the Packers get so many National games? Many teams had better records and didn’t garner this kind of schedule. The front end of this Packer schedule is showing a strong bias toward the Packers (Other) teams should complain The scheduling process it is not even close to being fair or impartial.

  19. You will never draw more viewership to teams if they don’t allow them the same opportunities to show their wares. The NFL sucks they want to expand internationally and don”t even promote all of the teams in the U.S. to allow us the chance to see them. It’s always, Patriots, Steelers, Cowboys, Packers; etc. (you get the point) The records for these teams have know effect on their Schedule at all, unfair to the other owners/teams.

  20. Robert Zak says:
    April 20, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    The BuffaLO market is a bit deceiving IMO. Two of our local channels are shown in Toronto.
    Plus I want all 1 P.M. games.


    And the worst thing about living in Toronto is having that wasted 1PM spot nearly every Sunday. That is why I buy Sunday Ticket, specifically so I can have good games in the AFC at 1.

  21. This is joke on many levels, most importantly, is that Buffalo tv market is cut off by being on the border to Canada. The Canadian market is not considered in tv counts/ratings. Buffalo tv stations go into Canada over the air, and cable, including Toronto. If it were counted Buffalo would be in the top 20. Just a bunch of exec’s not doing their homework, as usual

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