NFL Sunday night ratings down amid kneeling protest

Posted September 27, 2017

During the first month of the season previous year, Monday night games averaged a 6.5 overnight rating. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love country.

Overall, ratings for Sunday's games were down roughly four percent when you combine the coverage on Fox, CBS and NBC.

For last night's game between the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals, the Monday Night Football game received a 9.3 overnight rating for ESPN.

We have never seen a week where more people were interested in National Football League television viewership. Maybe the games aren't as good, with less attractive matchups and blowout scores.

However, in another reminder of the influence of the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host-turned-POTUS on the numbers, last year's comparable MNF matchup, Atlanta-New Orleans, was going head-to-head with the first Presidential debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton, which pushed MNF to an all-time low. Already, fans were switching off games because of too-frequent penalties and commercial breaks, head injuries, and the player protests.

Certainly, an exodus by those displeased that players have been taking a knee during pre-game playing of the national anthem may have had some effect.

Conservatives are celebrating the overnight ratings decline of NBC's Sunday Night Football, but a look inside the numbers reveals that ratings were down because the game was lopsided, and not related to the anthem protest.

Still, the dip in audience is hardly "way down" as Trump claimed again on September 24 in a separate tweet, on a weekend when he told a rally in Alabama that NFL owners should consider "firing" any player that kneels for the national anthem in solidarity with black America. But it is far more likely that whatever Trump attempted to spur did not play a major factor in last night's incremental, predicable ratings drop.