NFL Season Opens With a Whimper as Fans Flock Elsewhere

We saw this coming a mile away.  We warned you.  You refused to listen.

Trending: Creepy Joe Biden One-Ups Hillary’s “Deplorables” Comment, Angers Americans

The NFL’s 2018 season opened in earnest last night as the Atlanta Falcons fell to the Philadelphia Eagles in a clash of brats that used to mean something in our country.  Fans just don’t seem to care like they used to about the NFL, thanks in large part to the perceived disrespect to the National Anthem shown by players who’ve chosen to protest during the pregame ceremony.  Combine this steady trending away from the pro football circus with the hoopla surrounding Nike’s latest Colin Kaepernick-centric ad campaign, and the NFL’s trouble are worse than anyone could have imagined.

With a 13.4/5 in the metered markets, the post-midnight ending game is down 8% from last year’s kickoff of September 7, 2017. In one of the lowest season openers ratingswise and facing portions of a cable news-covered rally by a very NFL critical President Donald Trump, last night’s game is not only down from last year, but 2016, 2015 and 2014 – all of which saw successive declines.

take our poll - story continues below

Should Brett Kavanaugh withdraw over sexual misconduct allegations?

  • Should Brett Kavanaugh withdraw over sexual misconduct allegations?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Completing this poll grants you access to The Constitution updates free of charge. You may opt out at anytime. You also agree to this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

To add more injury to that, the 2017 8:42 PM ET-starting season opener between the victorious Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots ended up with a weak 7.7/29 rating among adults 18-49 and 21.8 million viewers. That was a double digit decline from 2016 and the worst total audience an opening game had since 2009.

Even in a TV landscape where ratings and viewership are noticeably dipping, unless you are This Is Us or Game Of Thrones, those results have to worry the NFL and the broadcasters, especially the still Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox with its pricey Thursday Night Football debuting this year.

The NFL’s problems in Atlanta have only been made worse by the fact that that the Falcons have been wholly outmatched for hype, attendance, and results by stadium-mates Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer.

In their annual pre-season roasting of the NFL, Deadspin was quick to point out this very fact:

They are getting overshadowed in their own stadium by a soccer team in their second year of existence. The Falcons are playing games in Atlanta United’s stadium. They’re crashing on Josef Martinez’s couch. The flag that says “BLESS YOUR HEART” at ATL United games is for the Falcons, not the opposition.

It’s embarrassing how much better ATL United is in every way at being an actual Atlanta-feeling team than the Falcons. The crowd is actually as diverse as the city is, the game experience is so much more pleasant, and they don’t have the creeping evil of THE SHIELD lurking behind the whole atmosphere.

Folks, the NFL is doomed.




Please leave your comments below

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.