So by now you’ve probably seen the flood of articles about the NFL and their falling TV ratings. Some articles argue that Colin Kaepernick’s protest and the flurry of players that followed suit are the reason why fans are changing the channel. Some articles argue that the ratings suffered because of the Presidential Debates falling on game nights. Some argue that the league is losing viewers because of the loss of stars like Peyton Manning retiring, Tom Brady’s 4 game suspension, etc. There’s also the argument that the match-ups have been lackluster leaving fans a lot to be desired in terms of good games (think Cowboys v. Steelers). And let’s not forgot the small grouping of people that say that the NFL is losing ratings because they have over-saturated the market since there’s Thursday Night Football, games all day Sunday, and Monday Night Football.
After sifting through all of these articles, I’ve come to the conclusion that the NFL shouldn’t and probably isn’t worried about their falling TV ratings. Now I’m not saying that some of the articles I read weren’t valid in their thinking, I do think that the debates hurt the NFL a bit and that some of these games are just not good TV (i.e. the Jets v. Rams game last week). I also agree with the argument that having so many games is having an adverse effect on the game, sure the league is making a killing off the media rights and Nike’s Color Rush Uniforms, but the actual game play is suffering due to the short prep time teams have.
But just because the NFL is suffering through a few weeks of bad ratings doesn’t mean that there’s blood in the water.
I think people seem to forget that this is kind of drop in ratings is normal. The NFL has been on the rise the past couple of seasons which led to the creation of Thursday Night Football and international games in London and Mexico, but that doesn’t mean that the league won’t hit a plateau here and there and even face some loss of viewers sometimes. It’s like going on a diet, you might lose a ton of weight in the beginning then hit a plateau where you either stay the same weight or gain a bit of weight back which will just motivate you to stick with it.
The loss of ratings is a good thing for the NFL because it will force the league to take a good hard look at how they’re operating right now and make a few necessary changes which will only make their product better. It’s easy to forget that the league is constantly trying to make the game for fun for fans and better for the players, so you have to give them some time to work out the kinks.