The Patriots weren’t the only ones to get spanked on Sunday night.
According to Deadline, the NFL suffered a huge loss in eyeballs, causing the ratings for the Super Bowl to drop to unbelievably low levels not seen in nearly a decade:
With 103.4 million watching, last night’s game on NBC from Minneapolis is down 7% from the total set of network eyeballs from the 2017 Super Bowl. A steeper fall than even the declining the stock market today, that’s the worst the Super Bowl has done since 2009 when the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-23 defeat of the Arizona Cardinals scored 98.7 million viewers.
While this decline in viewership has been steady since 2015 where it reached its highest, this latest drop comes off the back of many saying they wouldn’t be tuning in to watch the game off the fact that the league has allowed various players to disrespect the nation by kneeling during the national anthem.
No players knelt for the anthem during the super bowl, but the damage had already been done. Injecting politics into the sport cost the NFL 33 percent of its viewership over the season. It didn’t help that the NFL denied a veterans group an ad spot during the Super Bowl promoting the showing of respect for the U.S. by standing for the anthem.
Perhaps next season, the NFL will focus less on Colin Kapernick’s kneeling fad, and more on the the sport, which is why people tune in in the first place. As 2017 and 2018 are demonstrating, injecting politics into escapism rarely results in people’s continued attention. You can ask the Grammys and its unmitigated disaster in the ratings about that.