The battle over NFL ratings has exploded during Week 3 of the season with President Donald Trump tweeting that the ratings are "way down" because of athletes protesting the national anthem. Making a blanket statement about National Football League ratings being down for Week 2 rarely took that into consideration. League should back U.S'.
THE FACTS: NFL games shown to a national audience averaged 16.04 million viewers for the first two weeks of this season, down 11 percent from the 18.1 million people who watched during the same period a year ago, the Nielsen company said.
The decrease mirrors a trend of down ratings for the National Football League as a whole nationally through the first three weeks of the season.
Nielsen said the games averaged 17.63 million viewers for the first three weeks of last season, and have dipped to 15.77 million this year.
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There is a lot of crowing about the year-to-year comparison which sees MNF surging 63% in the early numbers over last year. Still, pro football games remain among the most-watched things on television. Maybe the games aren't as good, with less attractive matchups and blowout scores.
Overall ratings will likely be up from last season once the Dallas Cowboys play the Arizona Cardinals on "Monday Night Football". Cities across the country saw record highs in temperature, as the East Coast, Midwest and West Coast were in the mid-to-high 80s and 90s, giving many a last, late shot at enjoying summer. Or the games are getting slower with replays. At the Bears game vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, visiting players chose to stay in the locker room during the playing of the National Anthem, with one exception being former Army Rangers and Steelers' player Alejandro Villenueva, who openly stood with his hand on his heart on outside the visitors' tunnel.
However, in another reminder of the influence of the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host-turned-POTUS on the numbers, last year's comparable MNF matchup, Atlanta-New Orleans, was going head-to-head with the first Presidential debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton, which pushed MNF to an all-time low. Yes, there were boos, and POTUS took aim on social media this morning, but the Cowboys made the point - and then it was on to football. CBS' lineup Sunday included the Green Bay Packers' overtime win against the Cincinnati Bengals.