'The Walking Dead' takes a bat to the ratings of the NFL

Jay Busbee
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan  (Credit: Gene Page/AMC)
“The Walking Dead” knocked the NFL upside the head. (AMC)

How about that? Turns out someone wielding a baseball bat can beat the NFL after all.

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” kicked off its seventh season by resolving a six-month-old cliffhanger—which of the show’s main characters would the sociopathic madman Negan kill with his wire-wrapped bat?—and in the process delivered eye-popping ratings. The show ended with an 8.4 rating among viewers 18-49 and 17 million viewers overall, demolishing the NFL’s 5.3 rating for the same demographic.

That’s not great news for the NFL, especially considering that Sunday night’s ratings were actually an increase of 18 percent over the dismal returns of last week’s Indianapolis-Houston game.

But if there’s home amidst the blood and gore for the NFL, it’s this: the game remained a strong draw despite being one of the worst games ever played in the history of mankind:

Plus, “The Walking Dead” can’t maintain those numbers forever; they’re running out of main characters to kill, for one thing, and the must-see shock-value element of the new season is now gone.

Even so, it’s a warning to the NFL not to take its past ratings domination as a predictor of future success. Winter is coming. (Wrong show, but you get the point.)
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.