The Sunday night NFL game this past weekend had another bad outing. OK, so Houston-Indy isn’t the best game going, but it drew the smallest number of viewers in about five years. So far this season, NBC’s games — run in primetime — are down 17% from last year.

Through six weeks of the season, NFL games in total are down 11%.

Are the Presidential debates are responsible? They had huge numbers. One was held up against a Monday game and the other against a Sunday game. That might account for two of the 90 or so game played so far.

There are other factors at play:

  • The publicity over domestic violence by players
  • Complaints about too many penalties (even though the increase in penalty calls may be due to increased safety rules put in place because of worries over concussions).
  • Publicity about the violence of concussions and the long-term effects.
  • More prime time games (Sunday, Monday, Thursday)
  • More people watching on streaming devices besides TV
  • Peyton Manning’s retirement
  • Deflategate (ugh)


And then there’s this whole protest movement. Just say the name Colin Kaepernick out loud and you’ll get a strong reaction one way or another. Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem as his way of protesting social injustice and police brutality against African Americans has been polarizing to say the least. And it’s been spreading as other players on other teams have either joined in the protest or put out statements of support.

72% of Americans think Kaepernick’s act is unpatriotic (Reuters Poll).

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It’s spawned a whole counter-movement, including the #boycottNFL hashtag.
WARNING: If you check it out, you’ll also be hit with lots of politicslike everywhere else anybody seems to be commenting these days.


New rules for teams

Some say the NFL’s new policy new rules on what teams can post on social media are an attempt by the league to better control the message. It means they can’t post game-day footage and limits the number of times they can post on non-game days.

  • Teams can’t post highlights of game action onto social media
  • Teams can’t turn clips into GIFs and post them
  • Teams can no longer shoot video inside a stadium during a game and post it
  • No Facebook Live or other streaming apps within the stadium
  • No more than 45 videos on non-game days

Darren Rovell at ESPN says the league wants to make sure content generated within the stadium is hosted by team websites and the league can better control how and where it shows up.

Violating the policy could cause fines ranging from $25,000 for a first offense to $100,000 a pop.

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Still, advertisers don’t seem to be showing the same amount of concern. During the first month, ad buyers invested $567 million and generated 12.6 billion impressions in the TV broadcasts, according to a report from

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