Are you ready for some playoff football? Apparently many folks aren’t, as some NFL playoff hopefuls are currently struggling to fill their stadiums.
While many would point to the anthem protests as the culprit, we can’t say for sure that it or any resulting actions from the NFL are the sole or primary cause.
What we do know is a number of teams are struggling to fill seats — and social media has taken notice.
Let’s begin with the rundown of which teams are playoff hopefuls. According to the NFL, the playoff picture is as follows:
The AFC division leaders are the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, Houston Texans, and Baltimore Ravens. The L.A.Chargers and Indianapolis Colts are wild cards, with the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers being in the hunt.
For the NFC, the division leaders are the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys. The Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings are wild cards, with the Philadelphia Eagles still hopeful.
Now let’s review their stadiums and filled seats. First up, the Titans. This is from a home game against the Washington Redskins:
— Empty Seats Galore (@EmptySeatsPics) December 22, 2018
It didn’t fare much better for the Colts. This is from their home game against the New York Giants:
— Empty Seats Galore (@EmptySeatsPics) December 23, 2018
Even though you might make the “home game vs. away game” argument for some empty seats, even Arizona Cardinals fans didn’t fill seats for their home game against the Rams. Of course, Los Angeles has two teams, so divided loyalty may have played a role in their fans not filling seats.
Lots of empty seats at Cards-Rams today. But that’s what you get with a bad team and a nice day two days before Christmas. pic.twitter.com/ZjM7m6eIis
— Josh Weinfuss (@joshweinfuss) December 23, 2018
Perhaps a lot of people needed a restroom break or more nachos and beer during the halftime show. Or maybe, like the other teams, the San Francisco 49ers couldn’t fill seats for their game against the Bears.
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) December 23, 2018
Breitbart wrote about the problem as of Week 16, highlighting the fact that many teams, regardless of their standing, were still struggling to fill seats.
The Cowboys had a no-protest policy and struggled to fill seats, and it has been going on all season:
This is the most empty, dead environment I can remember for a Cowboys game tbh. I know people are still coming back to their seats from halftime, but it just feels blah in here.
— David Helman (@HelmanDC) November 18, 2018
Lots of empty seats and lots of Cowboys fans here pic.twitter.com/sBF2AzM5Wj
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) October 21, 2018
The anthem protests furor has died down to a large degree. A quick search on social media shows the seat-filling problem some teams are having has been going on not just all season, but for several years. So, again, the protests may not be the sole or primary factor for what is currently happening.
The NFL needs to look at all the possible contributing factors and address them if they don’t want the problem to continue or get worse. And get worse it might.
WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon has been actively engaged in bringing back the XFL. And he’s made it clear that it is all about football, not social issues.
In addition to this, Vince McMahon says the players will have rules in regards to the national anthem that players have to abide by. #XFL
— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) January 25, 2018
Chairman and CEO of @WWE Vince McMahon said on Thursday it would be “appropriate” for XFL players to stand for the national anthem when the pro football league returns in 2020. https://t.co/2UdbYJIJSR pic.twitter.com/AiWbf4UCLr
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 26, 2018
The XFL will launch in 2020, which gives the NFL time to make some changes.
How much of a threat the XFL will actually be to the NFL remains to be seen, but for fans sick of politics being mixed with football, the XFL may be the perfect way to get their football fix.
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