For those of us who no longer have anything to do with the National Football League, it’s difficult to escape certain aspects of its activity. Whether we found out through discussions with friends, from radio commercials, or via pop-up ads on our I-phones, it was virtually impossible to avoid learning prior to last Sunday’s Super Bowl that the Kansas City Chiefs were playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Later, even without watching a minute of the game, it was also inevitable that we would learn of the Buccaneers eventual victory in the apparently lackluster affair, and that the halftime performance by someone called ‘The Weekend’ was widely panned.
The Super Bowl has been so ingrained in American culture, we are bombarded with pregame and postgame hype virtually everywhere we turn. But there is one piece of information that continues to be murmured rather than shouted, because the mainstream media and the leftists that control and manipulate it would rather you not know. Therefore, psst… here’s a little secret… let’s lower our voices to a whisper… viewership for the Super Bowl has been dropping like a rock, and that trend continued with the game last Sunday.
What are the numbers?
Super Bowl XLIX was the most-watched Super Bowl ever, and was played on February 1, 2015. There was an average of 114.4 million viewers who watched the New England Patriots defeat the Seattle Seahawks that day, with a 47.5 rating; meaning 47.5% of all televisions in America were tuned into the big game six years ago. This past Sunday, for the aforementioned Super Bowl LV between the Buccaneers and Chiefs, there were 91.6 million viewers with a 38.2 rating. That’s almost 23 million fewer sets of eyes that watched this year’s game compared to just six years ago; a drop of almost 20%.
On average, one out of five people who watched the game in 2015 chose to spend their time doing something else last Sunday, and the leftist NFL and their accomplices are trying their best to keep those numbers quiet. But make no mistake: those ratings are devastating. Ratings equal advertising, and advertising equals revenue. What’s most alarming from an NFL standpoint has to be the trend. They’re not bleeding fans and viewers, they’re hemorrhaging them.
For the two years immediately following Super Bowl XLIX, the numbers were down, but only slightly. In 2016, the Super Bowl drew 111.8 million viewers when the Carolina Panthers were relatively uncompetitive against the Denver Broncos, losing 24-10. The following year saw a much more compelling game as the New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28. Despite that tight score, only 111.3 million watched the game. It was the game in 2018 in which the ratings plunge turned serious, as only 103.5 million watched the Philadelphia Eagles win a fairly tight game against the Patriots by eight points. And as noted, that trend continued right through to this past Sunday.
What is the reason?
Most of us are familiar with the practice of “root cause analysis.” Whether you work in the private or public sector, if there’s a problem you want fixed you need to drill down to brass tacks to understand what factors are driving the issue. Performing such an examination on the NFL’s disastrous decline is a no-brainer for anyone paying attention. It’s not the product they’re putting on the field, it’s not the quality of the broadcasts, and it’s not some sort of national distraction that’s been driving us away in droves. There is one, overwhelmingly obvious issue that has caused the NFL’s ratings freefall: their wokeness.
In 2015, at the height of its popularity, the NFL had enjoyed ten years of remarkable growth in ratings. Beginning in 2005 with 86.1 million viewers, the numbers climbed steadily before the 2015 peak, when the NFL’s wokeness was still very subtle. The following year saw a slight drop with the 14-point Broncos’ blowout. But the year after, in 2017, the numbers went down again even though there was that close game won by the Patriots. Why did the ratings go down? Because earlier in that season, the subpar, second-string San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began wearing socks with police depicted as pigs, and then proceeded to kneel for our National Anthem before games. Fans took notice and began their rejection of the NFL.
In 2018, the following year, the Super Bowl ratings declined by almost eight million viewers. Again, why did the ratings go down? It was earlier in that season when President Donald Trump – only nine months into his presidency – used colorful language regarding the anthem-kneelers in asking rhetorically, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now?’” Dozens of NFL players began kneeling for the anthem each week, the NFL condoned their behavior, and even more fans of the league fled.
Now consider this past season, which culminated in the precipitous ratings drop for the game last Sunday. Last summer, as the country was reeling from the mostly-peaceful riots of Black Lives Matter and Antifa, which resulted in the deaths of 25 people, the NFL decided to double-down on their wokeness. Not only did the league have a song they marketed as “The Black National Anthem” played before every game to kick-off the season, they also had their end zones adorned with social justice messaging instead of the traditional name/logo of the home team. Their anti-America message was being shoved down the throats of all their fans.
What has the reaction been?
The correlations are clear. The more political the NFL becomes, and the more vocal they are as social justice warriors, the more viewers and fans they lose. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t need to hire some consulting firm to deep-dive the crisis, the answer is staring him in the face like a nose guard over center. But like those who are forced to deal with grief, the NFL and their apologists are struggling to work their way through the various stages of processing; including denial, anger, and bargaining. The primary problem for the NFL and their cronies is they can’t seem to get beyond the denial stage.
The New York Times, arguably the wokest of the woke, was laughably defiant when they ran this classic headline earlier this week, “Super Bowl Ratings Hit a 15-Year Low. It Still Outperformed Everything Else.” Got that? Pay no attention to the fact that their ratings have dropped 20% in only six years, they still had better results than Ice Road Truckers. Not to be outdone, Variety explained in the very first sentence of their analysis article that the ratings, “fell below the 100 million viewer threshold but set a record for streaming viewing, according to Nielsen.” So, the ratings tanked, but included in those lousy numbers was a group that used a different method of access, and that statistic was very high. And, that’s a good thing for the NFL, don’t you know. In five years, if only 30 million people are watching the Super Bowl but 29 million of them are streaming, will that be positive news for the NFL as well?
The most comical tactic by the root-cause-deniers is their tendency to point the finger elsewhere. In an article by CNBC, they proposed, “The CBS app had issues during the game, which could have had a negative impact on the ratings.” USA Today predictably blamed the game’s score, theorizing, “The lopsided margin in this year’s edition did not help ratings.” And Sports Illustrated cited COVID as the problem, suggesting “the pandemic has changed people’s level of interest in sports.” Nowhere in any of the three articles, or in scores of articles from other outlets such as CNN and ESPN, is the issue of the NFL’s social activism even mentioned. Why? Because they can’t bear the thought that millions of Americans have rejected their nonstop, in-your-face, ‘America is evil’ advocacy.
Just say no, like 23 million other Americans have done
The deterioration of the NFL’s television ratings hasn’t been limited to merely the Super Bowl, and in fact ratings throughout the entire 2020 season plummeted. The Thursday Night game during week four of this past season, for instance, saw ratings drop a whopping 70% compared to just last year, and ratings for both the divisional and wildcard rounds of playoffs were down double-digits for every game. In August and September, while the NBA and MLB were challenging the NFL to see who could be the wokest, ratings for all three went off a cliff. Meanwhile, non-political sports such as golf, cycling and even professional wrestling either held steady or saw ratings increase.
There’s no mystery here. There have been plenty of lousy Super Bowl games that didn’t see such an incredible drop-off in viewership. Just two years ago in 2019, the Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams by a score of 13-3; only sixteen total points scored in a sport whose fans crave high-scoring contests. Yet that game had almost seven million more viewers than last Sunday’s game.
The reason for the NFL’s ratings calamity isn’t the competitiveness of the games, or poor officiating, or disinterest due to COVID, or some unique astrological alignment of planets and constellations. Former NFL fans are tired of anti-American, leftist activist, filthy rich NFL owners and their commissioner trashing our great country as they line their pockets. In just six years, 23 million Americans have said “enough.” If you weren’t one of those 23 million last Sunday, you should have been. And you should consider joining us and making that number even larger next year.
P.F. Whalen is a conservative blogger at TheBlueStateConservative.com. His work has appeared in multiple publications, including the Western Journal, Human Events, and American Thinker. Follow him on Parler @PFWhalen.