In the first post-election Sunday, the NFL might want a recount.
Let’s dig into the numbers:
Thursday Night Football (Fox/NFL Network): Green Bay thrashed San Francisco, and a much-hyped rivalry game fizzled. The game drew 13.17 million viewers, a 6 percent drop-off from last year’s San Francisco-Arizona game.
CBS doubleheader: CBS saw a decline in the first half of its Sunday doubleheader, but a rebound in the second. In the early game, which was largely Baltimore-Indianapolis, 10.23 million viewers tuned in, a drop-off of 11 percent from last year.
The afternoon’s marquee matchup — in name, if not in talent — was Pittsburgh-Dallas, and that drew 22.71 million viewers, up 2 percent from 2019. Big names and big teams continue to draw big ratings.
Fox singleheader: The regional telecast, in which most viewers saw either Carolina-Kansas City or Raiders-Chargers, didn’t resonate with viewers. Totals were 15.74 million viewers, down 14 percent from 2019.
Sunday Night Football (NBC): What seemed like a gem of a matchup, a New Orleans-Tampa Bay rematch of one of the highest-rated games of the season, turned into a chance for much of America to catch up on sleep when New Orleans went up 31-0 in the first half. The broadcast recorded 16.88 million viewers, a 23 percent decline from 2019’s marquee Ravens-Patriots (with Tom Brady) game. SNF continues to be a ratings struggle; nine of the 10 games this season are down from 2019, with five of the past six down by double digits, according to Sports Media Watch.
Monday Night Football (ESPN): We knew this was a dog of a game going in, and the Patriots and Jets proved us right, drawing 9.83 million viewers. That marked a 30 percent drop from 2019’s Cowboys-Giants matchup ... back when the NFC East was merely bad, not terrible. Per Sports Media Watch, this was ESPN’s lowest-rated Week 9 game since Browns-Ravens in 2004.
Starting now, we’ll see how strong the NFL is relative to prior years. With the presidential election (mostly) in the rear-view mirror, more Americans staying home as the weather cools, and time-displaced sports either done or not yet starting, the NFL has the stage to itself. Let’s see how many people show up in Week 10.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him with tips and story ideas at email@example.com.
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