After Roger Goodell Said He Wants Players to Stand, Sunday’s NFL Ratings Are In

The NFL has been a source of nonstop drama during the past month. It all started when President Donald Trump unloaded on players who chose to protest the national anthem, and they responded with more protests than ever.

Vice President Mike Pence then ignited the fire all over again when he walked out on an Indianapolis Colts game after their opponent, the San Francisco 49ers, took a knee during the national anthem.

After all of this, ratings have crashed, ticket sales have plummeted, and fans have begun boycotting the league. The boycott has become so strong that stadiums now routinely have thousands of empty seats.

The NFL has become one of the most divisive brands in the country, and Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, issued the following statement last week:

Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues.

The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.

Now the ratings are in for Week 6, the first set of Sunday games since Goodell’s statement. Deadline reports:

On a day that saw players protesting in various games, the New York Giants’ surprise Week 6 win over the Denver Broncos on SNF scored a 5.0/17 among adults 18-49 in the fast affiliates, with 14.42 million viewers. That’s a dip of 4% in the demo and a 3% decline in total sets of eyeballs from the comparable non-adjusted results of the October 8 matchup between the then-unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs’ and the Houston Texans. That 8:30-11:45 PM ET game went on to garner a 5.8/20 rating with an audience of 16.53 million in the final numbers, so we could see a similar bump for last night’s game.

Compared to the fast affiliates from last year’s season-low Week 6 SNF, last night’s game was up 11% among 18-49s. That October 16, 2016 Houston Texans-Indianapolis Colts matchup ended up with 4.9/16 among adults 18-49 and 13.60 million viewers.

Overall, right now, NBC took Sunday with a 4.2/15 and an audience of 12.45 million. Originals and NFL overruns juiced CBS to second with a 1.9/7 and 11 million viewers.

Maybe it’s time the players just stuck to football.

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