The ratings of last night’s Super Bowl game followed the general trajectory of NFL ratings all season.
While yesterday’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots was one of the highest scoring in history, the action didn’t lead to it being the most watched. In fact, according to the Hollywood Reporter,
The marquee event of the television calendar, which saw the Philadelphia Eagles nab their first Super Bowl victory, averaged a 47.4 overnight rating among metered market households on NBC. That’s down 3 percent from initial numbers for the 2017 game, a modest drop but one that marks the franchise’s lowest performance since 2010.
The past two Super Bowls, which averaged a respective 48.8 (2017) and 49 (2016) overnight ratings, were each steady with over 111 million viewers. (There was a massive spike in streaming in 2017, which “technically” put the game at 113.7 million viewers).
The NFL’s popularity has taken a drop as a whole over the past two years, ignited mainly by Colin Kaepernick’s “taking a knee” protest, and similar silent protests aimed at President Donald Trump. In a relatively short time period, the NFL has gone from being the sports league viewed most favorably after the MLB to the least favorably viewed league.
Trump broke a tradition started by President George W. Bush and skipped the presidential pre-Super Bowl interview this year. Trump had done one with Bill O’Reilly in 2017, but that was before renewed tensions between the POTUS and the League.
While the NFL is experiencing a decline in ratings, enough people left their television on after the game to boost the ratings of another show. The post-game episode of NBC’s “This Is Us” set a new metered market record for the drama, averaging a 16.2 rating, making it the top-rated post-Super Bowl entertainment telecast in over a half-decade, and setting a ratings record for the show.
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