The NFL and the networks that are carrying their games are celebrating this week after finding out that ratings aren't down as much as they were. That's right, America's favorite sports league is happy that things aren't as bad as they were.
The New York Post reports latest ratings figures for Week 7 still show almost one million fewer viewers than last year. Ouch.
Through Week 7, the NFL’s 43 national telecasts averaged 15.4 million viewers, according to data compiled by Sports Media Watch. That’s down 5.5 percent from last season’s 16.3 million average through the same point in the season.
At the start of the season with hurricanes hitting Houston and Tampa, and the controversy over players kneeling for the anthem, viewership was down a staggering 11.8 percent over the opening week of 2016. That figure was shocking because 2016 itself was a bad year for football ratings. While some pointed to the start of the kneeling controversy as part of the reason for lower ratings in 2016, the league pointed to competition with a wild political season.
Now, with no presidential election campaign to compete with, ratings for the NFL remain lower than last year. President Trump blasted the league for the continued kneeling during the anthem in a Monday morning tweet.
Two dozen NFL players continue to kneel during the National Anthem, showing total disrespect to our Flag & Country. No leadership in NFL!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2017
While the controversy started last season, the president escalated it to a new level when he said during a September speech that he would like to see NFL owners fire some of the players that kneel. While Trump was blasted by many players and media commentators, he also received accolades from Americans that felt kneeling was disrespectful to the anthem, the flag and the military.
A Facebook Page calling for a boycott of the NFL on Veteran's Weekend (November 11-12) sprung up a few weeks ago and continues to gain support and traction.