It’s no secret that NFL TV ratings have been down this year. It’s something that news sources talk about each week and sports talk shows try to analyze and pinpoint the problem. Some people have cited the violence and injuries for their reasons as to why they’re not watching, but I’m not buying that. Football has been a violent sport for as long as it’s been around and players have been brutally injured each year, and if that were the reason people quit watching, they would have done so years ago. I remember watching the Dallas Cowboys play on a Sunday afternoon when I was nine years old. I watched one of my favorite players, Michael Irvin, go to the ground with a neck injury. He couldn’t move, and as he was carried off the field, the fans in Philadelphia cheered, happy that he was hurt. That ended up being Irvin’s last game and guess what, people continued to watch football. If a horrific career ending injury that elicited cheers from the opposing crowd wasn’t violent enough to make people quit watching, I don’t believe they would quit watching because of how violent it is today. Measures are added every year to try and make the game safer for the players and I believe that if anything, football is less violent now than it used to be.
Another reason people have cited for NFL ratings being down is what Colin Cowherd calls the Trump factor. Throughout the last few months of the presidential campaign people have been drawn to Donald Trump, whether they loved him or loved to hate him, people wanted to watch coverage on him. It did not help that two of the three presidential debates clashed with Monday night and Sunday night football respectively. I’ll be honest, although I’m a huge football fan, I chose to watch the debates instead of the games, like a lot of Americans did. So I think Cowherd is absolutely right in saying that the numbers are down because of the Trump factor, but I don’t think that is the main reason.
The NFL TV ratings have fallen so low this year for two reasons, Tony Romo has been injured, and the Dallas Cowboys have been winning. When it comes to Tony Romo there is no middle ground, you either love him or you hate him, and sadly most people hate him. When he’s playing, I would bet a lot of people that tune in to watch the game are doing so with hopes of seeing him make a mistake so they can get some sick sense of satisfaction out of it as they post an ignorant joke on twitter. I also think the fact that the Cowboys have been winning has played a major role in the lowering NFL ratings, because like Tony Romo and Donald Trump, people either love them or love to hate them. Dallas lost their first game of the season due in part to bad clock management and for the next week people destroyed the Cowboys on social media and TV, reciting Stephen A. Smith’s annoying mantra that they’re a disaster waiting to happen. Everything was right with the world, but then Dallas started winning, and kept winning, and haven’t lost a game since. They have the best record in the NFL right now, sitting at 8-1 and there’s nothing really for the haters to say right now. Whatever the reason for viewers sitting out this football season I would urge you to come back ASAP, because your missing some pretty exciting games.