As the NFL’s abysmal season plagued by national anthem protests comes to a close, the once-popular American pastime has little to remember 2017 by – other than plummeting ratings, half-empty stadiums and a reputation for embracing its players’ anti-American social justice activism over its patriotic fans.
Fans are not the only ones who are fed up with the NFL’s antics – during a season featuring players’ anthem kneeling and skirmishes with President Donald Trump over players disrespecting the flag, nation and troops.
As many football fans and critics alike make little sense of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s $200-million 5-year contract extension in the midst of his mishandling of the league’s ongoing controversies, Papa John’s is not the only major NFL sponsor that continues to complain that the once-celebrated league is no longer worth its investment.
“CEO Joe F. Sanderson Jr. of Sanderson Farms – a major poultry producer – reported customers for his chicken wings are seeing less traffic in their stores, which they attribute to the NFL’s fall in popularity,” WND reported.
No signs of recovery
It is becoming more and more evident that the NFL’s failure to act appropriately – regarding the anti-American antics initiated by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick – is inducing irreparable damage on the NFL, which has enjoyed the status as one of America’s top choices and money-makers in sports entertainment for decades.
“NFL viewer ratings are down 9 percent overall across all networks,” The Hill reported this weekend with one regular season game left. “Ratings have been dropping since the season began, spurred by Trump's comments at a rally in which he suggested boycotting teams with players who don’t stand for the national anthem.”
The downward spiral in ratings is affecting more than the traditional Sunday morning and afternoon games, as the latest Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens showdown during the Sunday night game on NBC saw a staggering 35-percent drop in viewership – compared to a similarly scheduled matchup in the 2016 season when Kaepernick began staging his protests, according to CNN.
But the loss of interest goes much deeper than any particular game time slot.
“[T]he average TV audience through last Monday night dipped to 8.4 percent below last year – worse than a 7.9 percent deficit one week earlier,” the New York Post reported. “The NFL is now averaging 15.3 million viewers per game this season – down from 16.7 million last season, according to Nielsen. That means the total audience watching all NFL games is down 120 million from last season.”
When specifically factoring in the earlier Sunday games, things do not fare much better for the NFL.
“The various Sunday broadcasts on CBS fared almost as poorly, with eyeballs dropping off 27 percent,” the Post’s Richard Morgan noted.
Besides ratings and attendance, the NFL is continuing to fall further and further behind the NBA, MLB, NHL and other professional sports when it comes to approval ratings.
“[T]he NFL continues to lag behind other American sports in terms of its public image,” WND informed. “For the third straight month, polling data showed the NFL has the highest unfavorable rating of any major sport in the United States.”
And despite Goodell paying the players off with a bribe in an effort to try stop their on-field so-called “social justice” antics – and take them off the field – the NFL still appears to not have learned its lesson.
“The divisive ‘Take A Knee’ protests are not likely to fade away any time soon,” the conservative independent news source added. “More than a dozen players joined the protests during Week 15, with 10 Seattle Seahawks players sitting or kneeling during the singing of the national anthem.”
Even more problems?
With all of the harsh criticism the NFL has received in recent years – from the “gay kiss” of a St. Louis Rams player touted by ESPN, to the head injuries, to the continuing anthem protests – the NFL was recently thrown in the midst of the sexual misconduct scandal plaguing the nation, which began with the allegations brought against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Shortly after former NFL stars/personalities – including Marshall Faulk and Donovan McNabb – were named in a recent NFL sex abuse scandal, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced he is selling his team after being accused of sexual misconduct himself.
“[T]he league’s problems may soon grow even more intense, as rap mogul Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs claimed he would attempt to buy the Carolina Panthers franchise after its current owner said he will sell at the end of the season following sexual misconduct allegations,” WND pointed out. “Combs is framing his attempted purchase as a victory for diversity.”
Even Golden State Warriors star point guard Stephen Curry – who publicly snubbed Trump’s invitation to the White House for winning the NBA Championship – tweeted, “I’m in!” when told about the venture.
But even more significant is Kaepernick’s anticipated involvement in the potential acquisition deal, which would be the exact ticket that the fading NFL star would need to get back into the NFL and get vengeance on Trump and NFL fans who have criticized his unpatriotic displays spurring racial tensions.
“Combs also said he would hire Colin Kaepernick, the Black Lives Matter-supporting former NFL quarterback who sparked the anthem-protest movement,” WND noted.
No bump in the road
It is believed that the NFL’s current hard times could ultimately sink the once glorified sports franchise as it faces challenges that go beyond the anthem protests.
“Theodore Kupfer in the conservative National Review magazine goes so far as to ask whether football will survive,” WND announced in its report. “Though he ultimately concludes it will, Kupfer believes the epidemic of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) plaguing NFL players following many years of constant collisions and blows to the head will force changes in the sport – especially as fewer young men are taking up the dangerous game.”
Even more challenges for the NFL could arise in the near future. Having a virtual monopoly on professional football over the years, the NFL might have opened up the door for a direct competitor to fight to its market share.
“WWE owner Vince McMahon is reportedly considering bringing back the XFL – the ill-fated professional league that played one season in 2001,” the report continued. “Fox Sports reported McMahon has filed for a number of professional football trademarks, including ‘For the love of football’ and ‘United Football League.’”
In addition, Trump – who has not taken kindly to the NFL after its response to his harsh criticism of Kaepernick and call for the NFL to fire or suspend anthem protesters – could be in the position to make more trouble for the left-leaning league.
“McMahon might even have a quiet supporter in President Trump, who has mobilized public opinion against the NFL’s toleration of the flag protests,” WND explained. “Vince McMahon’s wife, Linda, is head of the Small Business Administration, and the president has hosted the McMahons at the White House. Trump also challenged the NFL when he bought the New Jersey Generals franchise in the fledgling United States Football League (USFL) – though the league [only] lasted from 1983 to 1986.”