Bad Ratings: NFL Football Has Become Unwatchable
Hate to tell you this "Politics are Sports" fans. The NFL ratings drop on TV is not attributable to your misinformed selves. It's about crappy football and way too many crappy broadcasts.
Mind you the NFL has become so addicted to Network TV money they have been willing to make their product a shadow of what it once was. It's kind of like a fast food restaurant that grows too fast and eventually goes out of business because the sales can support one restaurant....but not 1,000 of them.
I stayed up---at least for a little while Sunday night watching my boyhood favorite team--the Miami Dolphins host the Oakland Raiders on "NBC's Sunday Night Football". And while the production value of the broadcast was very good---the actual broadcast caused me to fall asleep in mid-conversation with my wife somewhere near halftime.
It started with the "Theme Song". Why do you need a "Theme Song" to kick off a football game? Can someone please explain this concept to me? I'm a long time TV producer/editor/writer etc and this makes absolutely no sense.....
Could the teams not just run out of the tunnel to the Fireworks/Explosions and be done with it???
Yeah, I know---Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and now "Thursday Night Football" have been around for a long time. Okay--Sunday and Monday have. Thursday is just stupid. The players hate it. The fans don't like it and it appears now--the networks may not be fans either.
It used to be---and in some parts of the world like the Northeastern U.S and to some extent the Midwest---NFL Football is king. But it is not in the South. Sure, most of the teams have a loyal fanbase but given the choice---most would take an SEC College Football game over an NFL game.
Back to the broadcasts. Particularly on Sunday's. How boring and anti-septic can they be? You park on your couch at home and after the hour long---preview/comedy shows---the game kicks off. Okay--so they go 5 minutes before kickoff to the announce team, sitting in the broadcast booth and talking. Then cut to commercials. The teams run on the field. And then they cut to---more commercials.
Mind you it isn't much better in person. For your $100 upper level seat---you get a game that goes for 5-minutes and then a TV timeout. Then 2-minutes...and a TV timeout. You can go get your $10 beer and $12 hot dog and come back...to another TV timeout. Get the picture....
For most people who work for a living-- Monday through Friday, what do you do when a game comes on. Does your day stop so you can watch? Or do you run errands with your wife? Or do things with your family? Or do you sit there on the couch for 3-1/2 hours watching a poorly played game.
Today's NFL is a game where a Brock Osweiler or a C.J Bethard starts at Quarterback. It is a game where city's are now "Force Fed" franchises (see Chargers, Los Angeles). And it is a game where the Oakland Raiders play in Oakland for 3 years while a new stadium is being built for them on the back of taxpayers.
In Las Vegas.....
If you want to know why fan/brand loyalty to the NFL is waining? Because the NFL's loyalty to the fan is. How do they let franchises relocated willy-nilly not in the pursuit of a home stadium people will come to but relocated for the pursuit of more corporate dollars happen and not expect a backlash??
And I'm not even going to get started on their bizarre and draconian enforcement of player legal issues. The NFL and Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot have been fighting in court....not for weeks---but months about a 6-game suspension for alleged domestic abuse. It's something Elliot never was criminally prosecuted for--but the league after completely botching multiple other cases---now wants to make Elliot an example.
The issue about players kneeling during the national anthem is just plain stupid. We've gone on ad nauseum about how the issue got hijacked by a certain politically affiliated Cable News outlet and turned from an issue about social injustice to one of politics and the military. Are there a handful of fans who refuse to watch/patronize the NFL for it. Yeah, probably. Are they enough to impact the ratings----no!
Used to be---an NFL game on TV was a "Must See" event. Sunday's and Monday night were the time devoted to watching the "Great Game". But as I said earlier---and so many others are now saying, having a Sunday night game and a Thursday night game along with the Sunday/Monday games are too much.
Until the NFL gets over its addiction to Network TV dollars and the Networks start balking at paying billions of dollars and cannibalizing themselves---nothing will change. But I suspect since this is a topic now being discussed on several levels---something will change.
It better change---traditional Television itself are changing. Dramatically and fast. People are no longer willing to pay $200 a month for a "Cable" package of channels they don't want to watch. And it is impacting the ratings. At the end of the day---Network survival is based on eyeballs. While anything NFL is going to get eyeballs---the era of it getting "All" the eyeballs is slowly eroding in front of our faces.
Hopefully they--and everyone else will wake up and look in the mirror----if not, they may miss the rest the ever changing world. One that is changing before the very eyes of those who are actually looking...