The NFL season opener between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons did not impress either on the field, or in the television ratings.
The Eagles managed to do enough to survive the challenge from Atlanta and win by a final score of 18-12. However, in a game that saw the defending champs booed by their own fans, viewers nationwide turned out to be equally disappointed.
According to Deadline Hollywood:
With a 13.4/5 in the metered markets, the post-midnight ending game is down 8% from last year’s kickoff of September 7, 2017. In one of the lowest season openers ratingswise and facing portions of a cable news-covered rally by a very NFL critical President Donald Trump, last night’s game is not only down from last year, but 2016, 2015 and 2014 – all of which saw successive declines.
To add more injury to that, the 2017 8:42 PM ET-starting season opener between the victorious Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots ended up with a weak 7.7/29 rating among adults 18-49 and 21.8 million viewers. That was a double digit decline from 2016 and the worst total audience an opening game had since 2009.
NFL ratings have collapsed over the last two years. The league saw an approximate ten percent decline in 2017, and a seven percent decline in 2016. Perhaps not coincidentally, those two years were dominated by the anthem protests begun by former 49er Colin Kaepernick in the preseason of 2016.
As the league enters the 2018 season, there is still no resolution to the anthem protest issue.