The NFL has a bit of a problem on its hands with the drop in ratings this season. But two things about that. One. There had to be a ceiling on ratings (they can't go up forever) and I guess we reached it. And two. The NFL created a monster they couldn't control.
Let me explain. With rising ratings come rising costs, particularly in terms of the cost to broadcast. And the way to recover that is through more advertising. And that slows the game rather a lot.
Plus you have the NFLs own weirdness in terms of penalties, how they deal with concussions, suspensions, and the now fairly constant migration of players that makes teams less cohesive. And of course calling it the no fun league is apt. Players are encouraged to just be robots and not show emotion.
There's also declining attendance at games, which the NFL was okay with as long as there was increasing tv revenue. I think they see that it's not a 1-1 tradeoff and you can't have both happen.
Fantasy football is also a concern. Fans become less interested in games and more interested in individual performances. While it's good for fans, it seems to indicate fans aren't watching whole games.
The advent of redzone hasn't helped either. That's like crack. Only plays in the redzone. No commercials. Once you watch it a few times it makes games seem boring.
And then there's the quality of the games. There have been some dreadful matchups and really bad games.
Count me among those people who have not watched a single NFL game this season from beginning to end. I've tried. But when it turns bad or there's a long break, I switch away and may never come back. If I happen to catch that it's close, maybe I come back. Maybe. And I love football.
Heres something else: I watched many of the MLB playoff games in their entirety. And they were loooong. Some of them stretched to 4 hours. So it's not about length so much as it is about quality.
Until the NFL makes it compelling and interesting and shortens games, and keeps them moving, ratings will keep dipping.