|Photo: Jim Rogash/Getty Images|
NFL ratings are down and it has been attributed to things such as the strong MLB postseason, Presidential election and Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest. I find myself not watching as much NFL football as I did in the past and I had to pause and ask myself why? I was very engaged in the political climate this year more than year’s past. But I don’t think that was the main reason. The over saturation of the product is why I am watching less.
Don’t get me wrong, I still follow the NFL very closely. I watch my favorite NFL team the Washington Redskins on a regular basis. I no longer watch NFL games simply because they are on. I don't have the desire to watch daily programming of NFL news or 2-4 hour pregame shows. I'm not staying up late on a Sunday, Monday, or Thursday for games that are not competitive. If I want an update I can go to my phone and check. It is what Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban mentioned in March 2014 and was criticized for.
"Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I'm just telling you, when you've got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That's rule No. 1 of business."
"They're trying to take over every night of TV," Cuban said. "Initially, it'll be, 'Yeah, they're the biggest-rating thing that there is.' OK, Thursday, that's great, regardless of whether it impacts [the NBA] during that period when we cross over. Then if it gets Saturday, now you're impacting colleges. Now it's on four days a week.
"It's all football. At some point, the people get sick of it."
There can be too much of a good thing. It is not only that games are on three days a week, there is literally coverage of the league 24 hours/day. Thursday night games are bad because they usually are between division opponents to minimize travel, but many times the matchups are not good which lead to poor games. They have adjusted the offseason calendar to be in the news all year.
The league’s poor handling of player discipline has become increasingly frustrating from Tom Brady's "Deflategate" to the mishandling of Giants kicker Josh Brown's domestic violence. The reaction of owners and other players in response to Kaepernick’s protest was also disappointing.
When Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was asked about the protest his response was, "It hasn't been a positive thing...What we all have to be aware of as players, owners, PR people, equipment managers, is when the lights go on we are entertainment. We are being paid to put on a show. There are other places to express yourself."
This is the same league that for the entire month of October promotes breast cancer and November the military. Questions have been raised regarding whether it is more of a marketing ploy than raising funds and awareness.
In 2013 it was revealed only 8.01% of merchandise for breast cancer goes toward cancer research.
|Photo: Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports|
In May it was announced that the NFL returned more than $700,000 of taxpayers' money that was paid to teams for sponsored military tributes after being criticized for "paid patriotism," in which money came out of the armed forces budget for various measures of public recognition during games, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league would pay that money back.
These are causes that have impacted most of us in some form or another and are safe. It will be difficult to find someone offended by these. But when it comes to social issues too many of those around the league wanted to players to be quiet and just play.
This past Thursday the Cowboys/Redskins game was watched by a record 35.1 million people on Fox which has aired games for 22 1/2 years. This is the last quarter of the season and games will have more meaning heading into the playoffs so I’m predicting ratings will increase and if two marquee teams like the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots go deep into the playoffs ratings will be through the roof.