What We've Learned Three Weeks Into the NFL Season

(AP Photo/Tim Ireland, File)

The 2021-2022 NFL season is three weeks into its 17-week grind. While it’s still early, those of us manning the sports desk located deep beneath the decks of the Good Pirate Ship RedState are of the opinion it’s not too early to make a few hopefully salient observations. Here goes.

First, like it or not the NFL is regaining steam viewership-wise. As the Los Angeles Times notes:

CBS’ Sunday games are averaging 17.1 million viewers, up 16% over last year. NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” is up 12% to 21.8 million viewers in the U.S. ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” is pulling in 14.7 million viewers, a 17% gain. Only Fox has seen a decline — down 13% to 16.2 million viewers — largely due to a blowout loss for the Green Bay Packers in its first national telecast.

The ratings rise is occurring as the overall usage of TV declined by 9% over the same period. Nearly all other dependable television franchises have seen their audiences erode in the face of viewer migration to streaming video platforms.

Hmm. Remember what I said a while back about hiding within the conservative ghetto, decrying all outside deemed unclean?

Unless one wishes to live in the conservative ghetto, refusing contact with the politically unclean, having an idea of what is going on in the world, including the sports world, is necessary in order to successfully propagate the conservative evangel. You might not care, but it won’t kill you to stay aware.

If we are going to have a genuine impact on society, we need a different tack than the current stompyfoot “Liberals are POOPYHEADS!” shtick. Which, as the non-lying numbers show, isn’t working. But I digress; back to football.

As noted, three weeks doth not a season make, but it does give some strong indicators.

(My favorite indicator thus far.)

  • The Los Angeles Rams (YAY!!!) are making the Jared Goff plus a convoy full of draft picks to Detroit for Matthew Stafford trade look like the most lopsided deal in professional sports since the St. Louis Cardinals sent Ernie Broglio to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Lou Brock. Nothing against Goff, but Stafford is demonstrating with each game he is the special talent people long suspected he was but could never fully demonstrate on the perpetually woeful Lions. Knowing Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and the rest of the Rams defense have your back whenever you’re not on the field can’t hurt.
  • Two teams that should let the quarterback call all plays: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (because Tom Brady, duh) and the Chicago Bears whenever Justin Fields is playing (because Matt Nagy is the most clueless coach in the NFL bar none). Let. The. Kid. Play. Also, expect Nagy and Bears general manager Ryan Pace to both be unemployed before long.
  • When a game such as this Thursday’s bout between the Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars is being touted as a must-see because it features a matchup between last year and this year’s number one draft picks, namely Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence, it can be safely assumed a conference championship preview is not in the cards.
  • Speaking of cards, as in the Arizona Cardinals, we all had next Sunday’s game with the Rams penciled in as a battle of unbeaten teams vying for sole possession of first in the NFC West, right? Yeah, me neither.
  • Speaking of unbeaten teams … Carolina? Denver? Las Vegas? Wild.
  • Speaking of Las Vegas, a couple of Sundays ago I was attending a wedding in Sin City. The wedding was in the afternoon and, given how I am averse to gambling, I spent the day eschewing the casinos in favor of watching some football in my hotel room. The place I was staying in had Direct TV, so I settled on watching the Cowboys-Squatters … uh, Chargers game. Given how the game was being played at SoFi, naturally the home field advantage in terms of fan support clearly went to … um, the Cowboys. The announcers noticed. Hope they’re watching this coming Monday when the Raiders come to Los Angeles. Raider Nation has long made all Chargers games the team’s extra home game for the year, and now that it’s in Los Angeles the Chargers fans are going to be more outnumbered than Westboro Baptist protesters at a Foo Fighters concert.

Enjoy the games this weekend.