Every year the NFL produces staggering television numbers, and every year when the ratings for Really Great Regular Season Game X are compared to, say, a World Series game or an NBA Finals game, the results produce some fine comedy.
Yet still, every year I continue to be feel that jaw-dropping sensation whenever the league releases its regular-season TV numbers, which happened yesterday.
In a press release the league tossed out many facts which made us go “whaaaaa?”. Like these ones…
- Throughout all 17 weeks of the regular season, an NFL game was the most watched television program. That’s throughout all of television, and not just sports. Overall, 34 of the 35 most watch TV shows were football games in 2013, with the only non-football thing to make that list being the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which is mostly just on TVs while America waits for football to start.
- Even more ridiculous, during the 2013 season the NFL reached 205 million people, which represents 81 percent of all American homes with a television, and 70 percent of all potential viewers.
- The regular season averaged 17.6 million viewers per week, making this the second highest-viewed season behind only 2010.
- That average viewership of course went kaboom during primetime, rising to 20.3 million.
The release also just sort of casually adds at the end that over the past decade, average television viewership has risen by 31 percent. Hey guys, remember in the not-so distance past during the lockout when some of us were especially pissed, and those people said they would never watch football again? I laughed heartily at the time, but let me take a moment to respond even more appropriately now.
Unfortunately, since this is the way the world works and men with money enjoy having more money, our desire to watch all the football may ruin or at least increase the suck of the glorious playoffs we’re enjoying right now.
Roger Goodell seems bent on adding two more playoff teams, a desire he repeated earlier this week. This will almost surely be under discussion and subjected to a vote during the offseason owners meetings, and since Goodell takes his orders from those rich men, his enthusiasm now indicates that the idea is widely supported throughout the league.
Of course it is. The above numbers that are just stupid indicate the NFL has manufactured even more money printing plants this year. It’ll be interesting and/or numbing to see the Super Bowl ratings in a few weeks. At just over 108.4 million, the 2013 Super Bowl was considered a “down” year, which could easily be attributed to the 30-minute Superdome blackout. We’re only a year removed from the 2012 Super Bowl being the most watched event in U.S. television history, a status also granted to the 2010 game at the time, both of which had over 111 million viewers.
Eventually then, we may be responsible for decreasing the quality of the playoffs when the owners make the easy decision to cash in even more on their money making golden gift. They’ve been repeatedly fought while pursing an 18-game season, but adding more playoff intensity won’t draw nearly the same opposition. But while doing that the owners are disregarding quality in their pursuit of that quantity, and mass swimming pools filled with paper of monetary value.
Adding two more playoff teams in each conference for a total of 14 brings the NFL perilously close to the NBA and NHL, two leagues with drastically over-saturated playoff formats where qualifying for the post-season carries little reward. Currently doing that is still viewed as an accomplishment in the NFL.
But more importantly, the quality of a playoff team will be reduced. Sure, it’s nice that a deserving 10-6 Cardinals team would have qualified this year at the bottom of the NFC. But in the AFC, we would have been choosing between a cluster of under-performing teams that did a lot of losing. Four teams finished 8-8, and due to tie breakers the Steelers would have been given the extra Wild Card spot.
By definition, finishing at .500 means the team in question is perfectly average. That will be the definition of a playoff team that we’re lowering ourselves to then, or at least the opportunity will exist for that to happen far more often. Average.
We did this, I guess.
More notes, reading, stray thoughts, and other such randomness
Colin Kaepernick really, really enjoys playing the Green Bay Packers
I know. It’s now Thursday morning, and we should have long since moved on to discussing all matters related to the divisional round games, and their general awesomeness. Indeed we’ve started to do that, yesterday wondering how the hell New England will stop T.Y. Hilton, and prior to that doing the same with the Saints and Russell Wilson.
But try as I might, of all the amazing numbers from Wild Card Weekend, this one keeps popping up on my computer screen in various forms and its amazingness hasn’t worn off yet…
Colin Kaepernick has 30 starts. Averages 300.7 pass yards, 100.3 rush yards in three vs. GB. Averages 186.9 and 30.5 in 27 other games.
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) January 8, 2014
We could be gracious with the Packers and note that they lacked Clay Matthews this past Sunday, and last year during their first playoff Kaepernick pummeling the read-option was still fresh and they had no idea what they were doing. But while legitimate, those two excuses don’t nearly account for the vast difference between Kaepernick against the Packers, and Kaepernick against everyone else.
The NFL works in odd, mysterious ways.
Good decision, Josh McDaniels
Yesterday Adam Schefter passed along word that Josh McDaniels — the Patriots offensive coordinator and one of the hottest head coaching candidates for the remaining vacancies — passed on the Browns job after an interview. It’s a decision that makes sense because at 37 years old he’s still very young by coaching standards (and by human standards), and after his flameout in Denver, McDaniels is surely aware that his next head coaching opportunity will be his last head coaching opportunity.
But yeah, this is some real truth talk…
When the dude who traded up to draft Tim Tebow doesn’t want your head coaching job, it’s probably fair to head to the bar early.
— Fantasy Douche (@FantasyDouche) January 8, 2014
This man is insane
A Pittsburgh man has filed a “temporary Emergency Injunction” against the NFL to his U.S. District Supreme court on the basis that the Chargers should not be in the post-season because of the Week 17 missed call during Ryan Succup’s missed field-goal attempt that could have eliminated San Diego. Officials didn’t see what should have been an illegal alignment penalty.
Seriously, this is happening. This enlightened man’s name is Daniel L. Spuck, and he has a solution to right the crime against his beloved Steelers that would have advanced to the playoffs had Succup hit that field goal.
In the filing, Spuck suggested some possible remedies for the missed call. The NFL could suspend the playoffs for a week to 10 days, allow Succop to re-kick the field goal, or let the Steelers play the Chargers at a neutral site to determine who plays on.
Dwight Freeney is familiar with 90′s pop culture
Speaking of those dandy divisional games this weekend, one of them features the Chargers traveling to Denver. If it were possible for this to be a Super Bowl matchup, for two weeks you’d hear about how Mike McCoy was the Broncos’ offense coordinator not so long ago and now he’s coming home. Or something.
But there’s another important familiarity at play here two, the one between Peyton Manning, and his former teammate Dwight Freeney. The Chargers lost their key pass rusher to a torn quadriceps muscle early in the season, but his mind still has valuable Manning information that can be relayed to his teammates after he chased Manning in practice for a decade in Indianapolis.
Isn’t that right, Dwight?
— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) January 8, 2014
I’m out of my element here with 90′s television unless Seinfeld is the subject matter. But I believe that, yes, Dwight Freeney is the best.