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Capping off a tumultuous weekend for the NFL, one in which the league and its players were put on the defense by incendiary comments from the U.S. president, Sunday Night Football again saw its ratings lot take a hit from that of the previous year.
The NBC match-up between Oakland and Washington averaged an overnight 11.6 rating among households. The preliminary score, a low for this season, was down 11 percent from early scores the same night a year ago and 9 percent from the week before — albeit with a lopsided score that saw Oakland scoreless well into the second half and ultimately trounced 10-27.
It’s not really bad news for the NFL, but it’s not great timing. On Friday night, President Donald Trump chose to target the league during an Alabama rally, saying that players who don’t kneel during the National Anthem should be fired. Those players, many of them black, have done so in protest of the treatment of people of color by the police. (An ad from the NFL aired in reaction during the SNF game.)
The 2017 NFL season has again been suffering from year-over-year ratings declines, but none to the level to keep it from being the biggest thing on TV. Sunday Night Football alone has been averaging 22.3 million viewers in its first two weeks — and, just as advantegously, a 8.1 rating in the key demo of adults 18-49.
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