On the surface, NFL television ratings were up this season suggesting that despite all of the league’s off-field problems, the fans haven’t gone anywhere.
However a closer look at the ratings shows the NFL should be worried and this weekend’s slate of marquee divisional playoff match-ups couldn’t have come at a better time.
Overall, networks averaged 86.3 million viewers per week this season, up 3.1% from the 2013 season (83.7 million). But there is a problem with that number.
If we look at the three major time slots for NFL games, Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, and Monday night, ratings were actually down 2.1%. The only reason NFL TV ratings were up this year was because half of the Thursday night games were co-aired by a broadcast network (CBS) for the first time, pushing that night’s ratings way up.
Here is the full breakdown using data collected by SportsMediaWatch.com.
That brings us to this weekend’s divisional playoff matchups which couldn’t have shaken out any better for the NFL.
Consider the following. This week’s games include:
- America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys.
- The defending Super Bowl champs, the Seattle Seahawks.
- The two most popular players of the last decade, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
- The 8 starting quarterbacks have combined for 53 career playoff wins and seven Super Bowl championships.
- The “worst” starting quarterback this weekend is arguably Cam Newton and he is pretty good.
- Three players who were taken as the first pick in the NFL Draft (Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton).
- The Cowboys visit Green Bay in the playoffs for the first time since one of the most famous games in NFL history, the Ice Bowl, and it’s going to be cold.
- Peyton Manning versus his old team, the Indianapolis Colts, and the heir to his throne in Indy, Andrew Luck.
- Tom Brady versus his biggest playoff nemesis, the Baltimore Ravens. Brady is 12-3 at home in the playoffs but is just 1-2 at home in the playoffs against the Ravens.
That’s a winning TV ratings lottery ticket and exactly what the NFL needed.
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