NFL Ratings Down 7.5 Percent Compared to First 6 Weeks of 2016 Season

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2017

The NFL logo is painted on Hard Rock Stadium field, during the second half of an NFL football game between the Miami Dolphins and the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

NFL ratings through the first six weeks of the 2017 NFL season are down 7.5 percent in comparison to ratings over the same time frame last season. 

According to ESPN.com's Darren Rovell, numbers released by Nielsen show that an average of 15 million people have watched NFL games for the first six weeks this season, while 16.2 million viewed games in the first six weeks of the 2016 campaign.

Per Rovell, ratings haven't been down across the board, as ESPN's Monday Night Football is actually up six percent based on where it was through six weeks last season.

The overall decline over the past two seasons has been significant, though, with the current ratings being down 18.7 percent from where they were after the six-week mark in 2015.

Rovell noted that ratings in the first half of the 2016 season suffered due to the presidential election coverage, although it still finished down eight percent overall compared to the previous year.

President Donald Trump has been outspoken regarding the NFL and its dipping ratings in recent weeks.

Last month, Trump tweeted that the only ratings boost the NFL has received is in relation to seeing if players protest during the playing of the national anthem:

Shortly after that, Trump made it clear that he felt the NFL was moving in the wrong direction from a business perspective, according to Kevin Spain of USA Today:

"I think the NFL is in a box. I think they're in a really bad box. You look at what's happening with their ratings. You look at what's happening going ... frankly the only thing that's doing well for the NFL is the pregame, because everyone wants to see what's going on. The NFL is in a very bad box. You cannot have people disrespecting our national anthem, our flag, our country, and that's what they're doing. In my opinion, the NFL has to change, or you know what's going to happen? Their business is going to go to hell."

Thus far in 2017, the NFL has lacked a dominant team, as there are no undefeated franchises remaining following the Kansas City Chiefs' Week 6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Also, some of the league's most popular teams are struggling with the Dallas Cowboys sitting at 2-3, and the New England Patriots sporting a somewhat unconvincing 4-2 mark despite preseason talk of going 16-0.

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