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NFL Ratings Are Up During Regular Season

February 2, 2019by Tom Manning
Tight End Jared Cook #87 of the Oakland Raiders from the AFC Team makes a catch over Safety Michael Thomas #31 of the New York Giants and Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch #55 of the Dallas Cowboys from the NFC Team during the NFL Pro Bowl Game at Camping World Stadium on Jan. 27, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. The AFC defeated the NFC 26 to 7. (Don Juan Moore/Getty Images/TNS)

Following a difficult year of controversies for the NFL involving Colin Kaepernick and the way the league has handled the concussion issue, the ratings were up around the league during the regular season, leaguewide including in the two championship games, but down during the super bowl. The highest increase in ratings occurred during NFL’s Monday night football games on ESPN where they saw a +8 percent increase in ratings according to the ratings website Nielsen, and +8 percent during the regular season as a whole. The ratings were up also on all devices available for playing games increasing 83 percent.

Ratings increases occurred after two years of controversies during the height of the kneeling protest in 2016 which was started by Colin Kaepernick who said he was protesting police violence against communities of color in the United States. Following the 2016 season, Kaepernick decided to opt-out of his contract and has been without a starting role as QB ever since.

As the political controversy has died down, the increase in ratings has rose, though there still have been instances of kneeling during the season.  The increase in ratings has also been helped by the influx of fresh, exciting new QB’s in the league like Patrick Mahomes, Jarret Goff, and Baker Mayfield.

“Goff, Mahomes, Mayfield will sustain interest throughout the year,” ESPN NFL analyst Louis Riddick told Yahoo sports. “Do you think it’s a coincidence that one of the most controversial rules changes this year involves protection of QB’s?” Riddick continued hinting at the rules changes which involve protecting the QB’s from hits to the head or roughing the passer type calls.

“Despite industry wide declines in television ratings over the past few years, NFL games have consistently maintained their dominant position among all television audiences,” CFRA research media analyst, Tuna Amobi said.

As Kaepernick has gone away from the NFL for the last year or so, the viewers who have protested it, have generally come back to the TV. According to the latest ratings available,  the Rams vs Saints NFC championship game brought in 44.08 million viewers and saw a rise of 13 percent from last year’s NFC championship game. The AFC game was up 27 percent and hit a peak viewing total of 63.8 million viewers. The ratings for the championship games were helped by a controversial non-call in the NFC game and an exciting overtime game in the AFC.

However, given all of the success, the ratings of the Super Bowl hit a 10-year low; according to the latest stats available, 100.7 million viewers. The ratings downfall was hurt in the super bowl by the non-existent offensive performances by both sides and also a boycott of the game by the city of New Orleans.

Saints fans decided to go out to jazz events or watched highlights of it’s first Super bowl win in 2009 when they beat Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17.

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