After a recent poll was released on Yahoo, it’s been discovered that the majority of people who are watching less football are doing so because of the National Anthem protests. That result is undoubtedly wrong. If you aren’t watching football because of the anthem protests, then you simply are not a football fan. The NFL will always keep its core supporters no matter what controversy occurs. So why are the ratings down this year?
Ratings are based on how many people are watching and for how long. The latter is key because this ratings issue isn’t due to people not watching at all. It’s due to people who stop watching before the game is finished. Usually, guys will change the channel if the game is a blowout, but in a recent press conference, Goodell stated this year’s margin of victory in games is one of the lowest of all time. You would think that closer margin of victories would mean people will watch until the very end of the game, but it seems like every action Goodell takes backfires.
Now, the very problem with the ratings is over-saturation. The true football fans will always want more football, but this is in regards to the average football consumer. The NFL’s games simply occur too often and last too long. The NFL has always owned Sundays, but since the 70’s, they’ve also had control of Mondays and Thursdays. One more day and they have majority control over the week. Usually, your favorite show comes on once a week and lasts for an hour. With about 15 NFL teams playing every week and the average length of about three hours per game, the NFL simply has too much exposure. Three hours for a damn football game? That’s longer than most movies.
Most attention spans don’t last for three hours at a time. It makes watching the game feel like a chore. The sluggish pace compounded with constant penalties and reviews slows the game down to an unbearable crawl. So how do you stop the over-saturation problem? Well, you can’t shorten the length of the games or have less games in a season (although a 14 week season would do wonders for the health of the players,) but you can get rid of the preseason and the Pro Bowl. Preseason in the NFL really wants to be taken seriously, but let’s get real. Nobody cares about preseason. Everything is meaningless, just like the Pro Bowl. It’s just a bunch of men running around, hoping no one gets hurt.
The preseason and the Pro Bowl are just the league’s attempt to stretch a good thing out until it’s too thin. Maybe the NFL should just double down on the regular season, playoffs, and the SuperBowl? As football fans, what else do we need?