With week one of the NFL season in the books, we can now begin the discussion of how teams are shaping up and how each of our favorite players performed.
One thing that people are not talking about is the poor TV ratings for week 1 of the NFL season. Are the lower ratings tied at all to Colin Kaepernick and the various other players silently protesting during the National Anthem?
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The NFL’s response, or lack thereof, to the players’ protests, could be contributing to the low ratings. Many longtime fans are taking a stance against the NFL until the league takes some kind of action against players who they feel are disrespecting our military and our country. Perhaps the league thought this whole mess would blow over in a week or two, but it is still in the media spotlight.
Mike Florio at NBC Sports speculates that “the National Anthem controversy” might be one factor having an impact. According to SportsBusiness Daily, the ratings for the early game dropped from 9.8 in 2015 (Eagles-Falcons) to 9.1 for Steelers-Washington. The late game had an even bigger decline, with last year’s Vikings-49ers 9.5 shrinking to 7.1 this year for Rams-49ers.
This Monday night’s late game “just so happened” to be Kaepernick’s team, the San Fransico 49er’s, but who’s to say the drop isn’t due to the late west coast viewing time or the fact that this game wasn’t much of a matchup. But it does seem that people have been watching the 49er’s preseason games just to see what Kaepernick would do next.
The irony is that the only attention Kaepernick is getting is from his “protest” since he doesn’t even start for the team and was recently described by the San Francisco Chronicle as the “still … regressing quarterback.”
The argument could also be made that the game was aired exclusively on ESPN, and with many homes using non-cable alternatives these days such as Hulu or Netflix, many would-be viewers may not have had access to the game. That being said, it would be quite a coincidence that Kaepernick and the 49er’s just happened to be playing when the rating dive occurred.
Disclaimer, at the end of the day, this could all be speculation. Whatever the reason, the low ratings, if they continue, will certainly get the attention of the league and its pocketbook.