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NFL Network Gets Brutal Ratings News After 1st 'Thursday Night Football' Game

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In the words of ESPN’s Max Kellerman, “these four things I know are true”: The sun rises in the east, your dog wants steak, the highest-grossing movie in any given year will be about a comic book … and the NFL’s TV ratings are falling like a rock.

Today’s doom-and-gloom news comes courtesy of Awful Announcing, which reports that ratings for the “Thursday Night Football” NFL Network season premiere between the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens were down 13 percent compared with the same slot from 2017.

The overall audience hit 7.02 million viewers, and the household rating — 4.2 — was 14 percent off from last year’s figure.

The NFL tried to put a positive spin on the numbers, pointing out that the apples of the season premiere were up 15 percent from the oranges of the seven-game average for NFL Network-exclusive games in 2017.

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While we’re on the subject, it’s bad enough that the NFL Network premiere was down 13 percent from last year’s premiere. What makes it worse is that last year’s premiere was a fairly modest-interest game between the Houston Texans and the Bengals, while this year’s matchup was an AFC North rivalry game between two undefeated teams.

The NFL is on one heck of a losing streak lately, and each week the ratings news seems to get worse and worse.

In Week 1, overall ratings were down, especially when compared to 2016 — before national anthem protests became the massive national embarrassment they’ve become for the NFL — rather than 2017, when the ratings had already started to melt down.

The season-opening Philadelphia Eagles-Atlanta Falcons game Sept. 6 put up a 13.4 rating on NBC, the lowest in a decade.

Monday Night Football” couldn’t even draw 10 million viewers in any of its 15-minute windows, something that has happened only eight times since 2001.

It’s not looking good for the NFL Network as the season goes on, either.

Next Thursday’s matchup is New York Jets vs. Cleveland Browns, not exactly an AFC championship game  preview.

Will the NFL still be America's most popular league in 10 years?

The NFL is approaching some desperate times, as shown by its blatant manipulation of the numbers to try and make the Thursday night game look like something other than the ratings disaster it was.

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Fans continue to turn away in droves. Ratings continue to decline. Controversy over everything but actual football continues to rage off the field.

Football may still be America’s most popular sport, but nowhere in the laws of gods or men does it say that must always be the case. It’s third-and-long and the league is going to have to pull off a heck of a play to stay on top.

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Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts
Education
Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Nevada-Reno
Location
Seattle, Washington
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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