Fans didn’t stay away from watching the NFL after all.

Followers didn’t keep away from watching the NFL in any case.
Illustration: Getty/Shutterstock

You needed to be there – 2016, 2017, and 2018, I imply.

In a time wherein Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid have been main a rising motion that led to gamers, coaches, and even some staff homeowners taking a knee within the identify of racism and police brutality – followers ran to social media and screamed from the stands about how they might ceaselessly shun/boycott the NFL due to the gamers’ demonstration or as a consequence of how Kaepernick and Reid have been being blackballed.

It was all a lie.

Based on Sports Business Journal, NFL video games made up 75 of the 100 most-watched TV applications final 12 months, as no different professional sports activities league in America cracked the highest 100.

The Tremendous Bowl, NFC Championship Recreation, AFC Championship Recreation, Raiders/Cowboys on Thanksgiving, and Buccaneers/Saints NFC divisional sport made up the High 5 most-watched applications of 2021. The opposite sports activities broadcasts that made the High 100 have been 11 occasions from the Summer season Olympics, seven faculty soccer video games, and two faculty basketball video games. The NBA, MLB, and NHL didn’t get invitations.

A lot for that “rankings dip” that Kaepernick prompted.

“We did analysis and it was comparatively proprietary analysis, to be trustworthy with you,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said in 2017 in regards to the impact that kneeling had on rankings. “However I feel should you take a look at among the explanation why NFL viewership was down final 12 months, [kneeling] is a purpose that’s talked about by a good quantity of viewers. It’s one thing they don’t discover engaging or they don’t discover compelling in protection of the soccer sport. How massive an element it was? I don’t actually know. But it surely was one of many components that I feel maybe led to the slight lower in rankings final 12 months.”

However but, McManus was sensible sufficient to know that the “causes” why some weren’t tuning in wouldn’t final.

“Hear, I do assume the rankings will come again. However it’s important to take a look at this comparatively talking: The NFL rankings are nonetheless by far and away essentially the most engaging property in all of tv by an enormous margin. The very fact the rankings have been down marginally are of concern, however no one is panicking and saying that the NFL is slipping when it comes to its recognition or when it comes to its dominance, comparatively chatting with what else is on tv.”

Soccer is as American as racism and voter suppression. It’s why watching the Tremendous Bowl is the one factor that this nation does in unison. And when a sport has a grip like that on a rustic, individuals are going to all the time tune in irrespective of if gamers are kneeling or standing for a racist tune earlier than kickoff.


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