Since Colin Kaepernick took a stand (or rather a seat) over our “oppressive” flag and National Anthem, more NFL players are following suit. Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos took a knee during the National Anthem last night and it’s rumored the entire Seattle Seahawks team is planning some sort of protest at Sunday’s game – which just happens to be 9/11.The whole “unity protest” thing doesn’t seem to be going away in the NFL, where players are focusing more on social justice (whatever that is) than playing the damn game. So it’s interesting to note there’s something else kind of karmic going on as well.
Deadline.com reports that NFL kickoff game ratings are down from both the 2015 and 2014 openers.Last night’s kickoff game of the NFL’s 2016-2017 season was a lot like Super Bowl 50: the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers. However, unlike the big game in February, Thursday’s start to the regular season was on NBC not CBS, the now-retired Peyton Manning wasn’t playing (though the ex-Broncos QB was there at the newly renamed Sports Authority Field), linebacker Brandon Marshall kneeled during the national anthem in protest, the Panthers’ Cam Newton established a new QB rushing touchdowns record, and the game was a potential blowout that became a nail-biter.
NBC and the NFL must be thankful for that last point, as the Broncos’ eventual 21-20 victory was on the edge right up to the end of the primetime match-up – which is always a ratings booster. However, the net and the league may have lost viewers before Denver overcame a 10-point deficit to rally and pull off a home victory with their new QB and a pack stadium full of orange clad fans. All of which eventually provided the drama that live sports promises and delivered the Comcast-owned net a 16.5/29 metered market rating.That’s down 7% from the September 10, 2015 kickoff game between the Deflategated New England Patriots’ 28-21 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
What all of this means is viewers are apparently feeling a bit “meh” about this football season so far. Could the players’ off-the-field shenanigans have anything to do with it?
We’ll have to see as the season continues. As we reported earlier today, Colin Kaepernick’s shirt is the biggest seller on NFL.com right now. But the question is, are people buying it to wear it, or burn it?[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]