Bloomington, MN - The National Football League’s (NFL) television ratings for its showcase Super Bowl were was the lowest since 2009 in the wake of player protests that alienated many football fans.
The Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots 41-33 on Sunday in a thrilling game that featured the league’s most polarizing team with the game’s most must-see player in Tom Brady. And the game came down to the final play.
Still, ESPN reported the Feb. 4 game averaged 103.4 million viewers on television, according to Nielsen.
That’s the lowest Super Bowl viewership since the 2009 game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals.
This year’s game had seven percent fewer viewers than the 2017 game between the Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, which New England won in overtime.
“Get your act together next year guys,” tweeted Joe Walsh, a talk show host and former U.S. Congressman.
Many football fans have declared they are boycotting the league due to the disrespect shown by the players refusing to stand for the national anthem.
It should be noted that no Patriots or Eagles players took a knee at the Super Bowl.
Television ratings for NFL viewership were down 9.7 percent in 2017. That followed an eight percent drop in 2016, the first year NFL players began kneeling during the national anthem.
Days before the Super Bowl, the head of the NFL players’ union criticized those who blamed the drop in TV ratings on the player protests.
“Let me kick it off this way,” NFLPA president DeMaurice Smith said Feb. 1 during the annual state of the players union address. “One, I believe every bit of detailed analysis demonstrates that that is wrong. NASCAR – their championship series [viewership] is down 24, 25 percent. From 2006, I believe they’re down 45 percent. There isn’t a television show, news show that isn’t at least experiencing a double-digit decline. To try to pin declining ratings on any single thing is being intellectually dishonest.”