Last night in Foxborough, Massachusetts, the New England Patriots celebrated their Super Bowl title with all of the fanfare of conquering emperors driving their beaten enemies before them.
It was the season opener for the 2017 National Football League and normally, such a game would have drawn killer ratings but due to the ongoing corrosive effects of the Colin Kaepernick fiasco and dueling boycotts, the game drew lackluster ratings in what could be an ominous sign of things to come for the rest of the season.
Ratings were down for the NFL's opening game, is it a reason for concern? https://t.co/kbLzmpqNCQ
— Yahoo Sports NFL (@YahooSportsNFL) September 8, 2017
According to Yahoo Sports “NFL opening-game ratings take a significant hit from last season”:
If the NFL figured that all the offseason drama would vanish once there were games to watch, it can’t be pleased with its opening-night ratings.
The Nielsen rating for the Kansas City Chiefs’ upset win over the New England Patriots was a 14.6 according to Variety and other outlets. In a vacuum that’s a great rating, but it’s far down from last year’s 16.5 for the Denver Broncos-Carolina Panthers opener. The year before that, the opening game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Patriots drew a 17.7.
A 14.6 rating is still a monster number. To put it in perspective, Game 5 of the NBA Finals last season got a 16 rating, and that was the biggest rating for an NBA Finals game since 1998. For the NFL to have a regular-season game not be too far off the largest rating for an NBA game in 19 years isn’t a cause for panic. But the NFL doesn’t want to give back viewers, and having its worst opening game ratings since 2009 isn’t good news.
What are the reasons? Many will point to the NFL protests, but that could go both ways. Perhaps some turned off the NFL because of national anthem protests, but it’s just as logical to believe some turned off the NFL because they believe unsigned Colin Kaepernick is getting a raw deal. Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey affecting two well-populated areas in the past week or so probably didn’t help. A lot of people tuned into news coverage of Hurricane Irma as well. And perhaps people just figured the Patriots would win in a landslide (and that was surely wrong).
A lot of people did watch on Thursday night, and those who turned on saw a fascinating performance by the Chiefs. It just wasn’t as big of an audience as usual, which means another season of examining NFL ratings under a harsh light.
Just like how declining rating were explained away last season as a result of people watching the steel cage match between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for the presidency, the apologists are blaming the coverage of Hurricane Irma as a result of the ratings.
Don’t buy it!
This humble author has watched in horror for the last day and a half as the monster Hurricane Irma shifted to put me at ground zero and despite my despair and dread, I admit that I watched the entire thing down until the final gun. I had originally planned to boycott it myself but needed something to take my mind off the swirling ball of doom what will land on my very doorstep come Sunday morning.
The game was jaw-dropping upset win for the Kansas City Chiefs who not only won, but they throttled the Super Bowl champs and did so with relative ease as the fans at Gillette Stadium who came to roast NFL commish Roger Goodell and watch an easy Pats victory sat in stunned, slack-jawed silence as the Chiefs ripped their defense to shreds and shut down Tom Brady. It was the ugliest defensive showing of coach Bill Belichick’s storied career.
So that is no excuse.
There is really no way to spin this other than the continuing politicization of the game by meatheads like Kaepernick, Michael Bennett and other mealy-mouthed millionaires who fancy themselves civil rights heroes.
It’s gonna be a long season too and as the Bennett circus drags on, more will be tuning out.