The National Football League has canceled this year’s final “Sunday Night Football” game for the first time since 1977.
The NFL is blaming the cancellation on New Year’s Eve, citing its history as a low ratings day, according to a CNN report.
The last time the NFL held a Sunday night football game on New Year’s Eve was in 2006, when the Chicago Bears hosted the Green Bay Packers. It was expected to be quarterback Brett Favre’s last game with the Packers (and widely expected to be his last game ever). Still, only 13.4 million people watched that game, about a quarter fewer than the average Sunday Night Football game that season.
“We felt that both from a competitive standpoint and from a fan perspective, the most fair thing to do is to schedule all Week 17 games in either the 1 p.m. or 4:25 p.m. windows,” Howard Katz, the NFL’s senior vice president of broadcasting, said in a statement. “This ensures that we do not have a matchup on Sunday Night Football or New Year’s Eve that because of earlier results, has no playoff implications for one or both of the competing teams.”
CNN seemed to agree that the date had something to do with the potential ratings dive.
Next Sunday’s game had two disadvantages: The games all had a likelihood of being dull by the time Sunday night rolled around. And this coming Sunday is New Year’s Eve, a day when historically few Americans watch television.
Of course, the piece fails to mention the NFL’s poor reaction to the “take a knee” scandal.
As you may recall, wealthy football players took a knee during the national anthem instead of standing and placing a hand over their heart. The trend started in 2016 with the mediocre player Colin Kaepernick claiming that he was protesting police brutality. The protest continued throughout this season, leading NFL executives to support the protests and even defend the players to outraged fans.
The result has been disastrous for the NFL. Audiences quickly tired of the politicizing of the sport and simply changed the channel, leading to a 9% ratings decline and a drop in stadium attendances.
This statement from the NFL and its parroting from the mainstream media proves how tone deaf the establishment has become when it comes to listening to Americans who simply want to enjoy a football game with their families.