Trump bashed the NFL and its TV ratings for years and then they soared

Trump bashed the NFL and its TV ratings for years and then they soared
·3 min read
  • The NFL posted huge viewership numbers during the first weekend of the postseason.

  • The most-watched game of the weekend was Cowboys-49ers, which averaged 41 million viewers.

  • Numbers for the NFL have been up all year.

The NFL proved that it is still a ratings juggernaut over the first weekend of the postseason.

Over the course of the five games played on Saturday and Sunday in what the league billed as its "Super Wild Card Weekend," the NFL saw games average nearly 31 million viewers — a 23% gain over last year's opening weekend of the playoffs, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The huge number came despite two of the five games — Eagles vs. Buccaneers and Patriots vs. Bills — were blowouts that were basically over before the start of the second half.

The most-watched Wild Card game in 7 years

The weekend's biggest game was unsurprisingly the tightly contested NFC Wild Card game between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers, which averaged 41.5 million viewers overall, including 40.16 million on CBS and an additional 1.33 million on Nickelodeon. It was the most-watched Wild Card game in seven years.

The big weekend comes on the heels of an impressive regular season in terms of ratings for the NFL. According to the Wall Street Journal, regular-season games averaged 17.1 million viewers throughout the year — a significant jump up from the 15.6 million the league averaged in 2020.

The NFL also had 75 of the top 100 watched TV programs in 2021.

The NFL was a popular Trump target

While the NFL never stopped hosting some of the most popular broadcasts on television, there were some loud doubters of the league after ratings slipped in 2020.

In September of 2020, then-President Trump tweeted out a declaration of victory of sorts over the league's down year in viewership. He continued his insistence that NFL players demonstrating during the national anthem would be the league's downfall.

"We have plenty of politics to go around without disrespecting our great American Flag or Anthem," Trump tweeted. "I thought the NFL learned their lesson two years ago. The people will not put up with this (again). Just not worth it, hard to watch!"

The NFL, its politics, and their TV ratings were a popular target of Trump during his presidency.

Politics is one of the many reasons naysayers of the league claimed were responsible for poor ratings in 2020. Other potential reasons included stadiums devoid of fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schedules constantly shuffled due to outbreaks in their locker rooms, and stars missing games after testing positive or being deemed a close contact with someone who had. Additionally, the presidential election drew the attention of many viewers, potentially leaving a smaller share of the pie left for football.

Finally, we were all actively living through a pandemic, which shook up life rather significantly. We are still living through the pandemic, but maybe we're used to it by now? Who is to say?

There are plenty of reasons that people may or may not watch football any given year, and chances are none of them fit so conveniently into any one narrative, political or otherwise.

The reasons appear more anecdotal than anything else, but the numbers are the numbers.

The NFL is still one of the biggest draws television has to offer, and people still like watching the Cowboys play in the playoffs.

Read the original article on Insider

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