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January 19, 2018

NFL Playoffs Ratings Plunge by 23 Million

Yup.

Yep, every single game was down, no matter how good the games were. And, remember, three of these games were highly competitive in the divisional round this year. Whereas last year only two of the games were competitive. Hell, three of the four windows even feature one of the same teams from last year. And yes, I know, the Cowboys and the Packers played last year and those are the two biggest fan base draws in the NFL, but even if you pull that game out the numbers for the other three games also declined double digits. (The three other games were down 15.3%, 10.4% and 5.6%)

Adding all these numbers up 120.8 million viewers watched the NFL divisional round playoffs in 2018 vs. 144.1 million who watched in 2017, a decline of 23.3 million total viewers.

It's bad enough that Stephen Smith says the NFL needs Tom Brady to get healthy and the Patriots to advance to the Super Bowl in order to avoid a total NFL ratings debacle.

"The NFL has had a rough season, we know why: the protests, the ratings, the negative publicity, all of this other stuff, things that had nothing to do with play on the field most of the time. Itís sullied this brand to some degree, and has obviously raised the eyebrows of folks inside and outside the NFL," Smith said during the lead-in to his Friday "First Take" broadcast.

He continued, "Now you have the Super Bowl coming up. You have a five-time Super Bowl champion, a league M.V.P. multiple times over, a guy that's obviously considered one of, if not the greatest, quarterbacks in the history of football. You remove him from the Super Bowl, and what do you have? Blake Bortles against Case Keenum or Nick Foles. Are you kidding me? The NFL needs Tom Brady desperately, there is no doubt about that, more so than ever before. He is holding the National Football League in the palm of his hands right now, because whatís the Super Bowl without him this year?"


On a personal note, this is the first year I am almost entirely NFL-free. Though I haven't really watched the NFL for a few years, I did occasionally check in with the Giants' standings or click on a sports site to see clips from some games.

This year, I did none of that. I was only vaguely aware that Giants were having a bad season, even by mid-season. I wasn't even full sure of that. When I mentioned this to a friend I used to watch the Giants with, I was vague about the Giants having a losing season -- I vaguely said "How about those Giants?" and waited for him to confirm or deny that they sucked - because I wasn't even sure they had a losing season. Heck, maybe they just had another mediocre season. (Spoiler alert: They did in fact have a very losing season.)

I did not know the playoffs started a couple of weeks ago until I saw Hot Air mention it Saturday afternoon.

I did not know who was playing in the playoffs. In prior years, I at least had some basic sense of the contenders, if not the just-barely-snuck-in-wildcards.

This year, I had no idea. The only teams I know for a fact are in it are the Patriots (saw a headline yesterday that Brady had injured his hand) and the Steelers. (I think on that last one -- I don't know if they won or not.)

No idea at all on the NFC side. Atlanta, maybe?

(No, I think Atlanta lost. First I thought Atlanta won because John Ekdahl is calling himself "Sacksonville" on Twitter, which I thought was a sarcastic, bitter insult to his team, which I figured must have gotten sacked a lot. Now I'm guessing that they did the sacking themselves, and so this is a rare not-sarcastic remark from Ekdahl.)

Oh- I did see a fleeing bit of footage of late-game touchdown in the Baltimore-New Orleans game -- Neil Cavuto played it-- so I guess I know, now that I bother to probe my memory, that Baltimore is in it. (But have they lost yet? I don't know!)

This year may be the first year I completely blow off the Super Bowl. Even if the Dreamy Tom Brady does start in it.

Maybe I also blew off last year's game; I forget. I know one recent year I didn't watch the first half, but tuned in for most of the second after I got the impression from social media and blog comments that it was a competitive game.

Anyway, not really feeling I'm missing anything. Looks like 23 million other people are not really missing anything along with me.

What about you guys? If you've stopped watching, what phase are you in? Are you in the phase I was in two years ago (watched some clips and recaps), last year (checked the paper occasionally, watched an occasional game digest on YouTube), or this year (only saw one football play by accident on Neil Cavuto)?


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posted by Ace at 02:39 PM

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