The 2021 NFL Season
Updated: Oct 15, 2021
Is It The Most Exciting Season Yet?
We are only five weeks into the NFL season, and there has been no shortage of fireworks. Missed extra points, last-second touchdowns, record-breaking field goals to win the game; this season has had it all. It also just feels good to have a little bit of normalcy in the sports world.
With fans allowed back in the stadiums, the TV ratings are up 9% since last year, with an average of 16.9 million people turning in to watch the nationally televised games. The NFL is seeing its best start to the season since 2016, but why are so many people tuning in to watch football while everything else seems to be at a rapid decline?
There are many reasons why the NFL ratings are where they are today, but one of the main reasons has been the success of the primetime games. Almost all primetime games (Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, and Monday Night Football) have been entertaining, and who doesn’t want to watch entertaining football!
The numbers speak for themselves. According to LA Times, NBC’s Sunday Night Football and ESPN’s Monday Night Football all have exponentially better ratings than last year. Sunday Night Football has drawn 21.8 million views, while Monday Night Football has 14.8 million views. That’s a 29% combined ratings increase from last year. Only Fox has seen a slight decline, but that’s in large part due to Green Bay’s blowout loss at the hands of the New Orleans Saints in week one.
The primetime games have been spectacular this year. In the first three weeks of the season, five out of the first nine primetime games were decided in the last minute. It has continued through the season, with the previous night’s Monday Night Football matchup decided in overtime (The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Indianapolis Colts: 31-25).
As of Oct. 4, the NFL has drawn an average of 17.3 million television and digital viewers. That’s 17% more than last year, and we are just a quarter of the way through the season.
Another big reason why the NFL has grown so popular this season is because fans are back. Due to the COVID outbreak, the NFL had to play the majority of their games last season in empty stadiums, causing its regular-season rating to drop 7%. People were a lot more infatuated with the news.
It also helps that the NFL doesn’t have to compete with the NBA Playoffs, Stanley Cup Playoffs, or the Master’s Tournament, which was the case last season.
That doesn’t seem to play that big of a role this year. According to the NFL’s analysis of Nielson’s data, cable news has experienced a 30% decline during the hours in which an NFL game is on.
To sum it all up, America is a great place to live in when the NFL is its usual self. NFL ratings are high, while all the other TV ratings have declined since last year. People just want an escape from the real world, and football has been that escape.
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Jake Klausner is one of our new contributors here at thepyrrhic.com. Jake will be covering the NFL this season and maybe even some more American-based sports. Keep your eyes peeled for more from this author.