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Why the NFL isn’t dying


2016 was one of the NFL’s worst years for viewership.

Ratings crashed, with prime-time games all dropping at least 18 percent viewership compared to the previous year, and media outlets declared this was the beginning of the end for the long-time industry titan.

However, the NFL is not dying. The NFL will never die. And if it does ever die, it will be long after your or my expiration date.

Even with their drop in ratings, the NFL is still way more popular than the NBA, the NHL, or the MLB. If you still think the NFL is going away any time in the near future, you have more reason to get your head examined than any of the 244 players who got concussions last year.

2016 happened to just be a perfect storm of viewers being taken away to watch other things on TV.

For one, there was the craziest election modern America had ever seen, with debate time-slots always conflicting with NFL games. Everyone paid attention to these debates and the election as a whole. Even the non-political people had to catch a glimpse at that circus. Unfortunately, the NFL’s troubles did not end there.

There was also the World Series, with the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians: two teams who had not seen a championship in many, many, MANY years. Any fan of both football and baseball would choose to watch these historic World Series games over any NFL regular season game, no matter who was playing. I even chose to watch it over football, and I’m a White Sox fan!

However, the biggest major factor involved with the NFL’s dip in ratings is undoubtedly the terrible prime-time matchups throughout the entire season. Most of them were either boring, one-sided affairs, or had bad and uninteresting teams playing in those games. No one wants a Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans game on Thursday night, especially with their godawful color rush jerseys (looks like a bunch of mustard packets trying to tackle a tuft of cotton candy), yet we keep getting this game year after year. The Titans are no longer that bad of a team any more, but the Jaguars are still a dumpster fire of an organization, making these games not only uninteresting, but already decided before the second quarter even begins.

This is exactly what happens when you have the most exciting team in the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons, and they only get two prime time games the entire season. As a Falcons fan, I found it to be so incredibly frustrating, because I would hear and see everyone complaining about how the NFL is boring and not fun any more. If only the NFL let them turn on the Falcons on Monday Night instead of another Cowboys blowout for the umpteenth time, maybe just a couple more people would be interested in watching football.

2017 should see the NFL’s ratings skyrocket when compared to 2016. All the NFL has to do is set good prime-time games and they should be set. They are almost already set, actually. The recent Green Bay-Dallas divisional round game was the most watched divisional game in NFL history. So much for the death of the NFL.

I anticipate this year’s Super Bowl to break ratings records, as it contains the NFL’s best offenses in recent memory, the aforementioned Falcons, and the perennial bad guys of football, Bill Belichick and his New England Patriots. I hope you will be all rooting for Atlanta along with me on Feb. 5. Go Falcons!

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