Here are my personal reasons I find myself not watching the NFL much anymore.
- No Red Zone Channel: DirecTV tried to get me to pay for the Sunday ticket at like $360; I said no, I’ll just take the RZ channel. They don’t have that anymore, so I said fine, I’ll just watch whoever is on regular TV, which leads to..
- Who the hell is on these teams? It always seemed like every team, even the crappy ones, had some amazing running back (e.g., Barry Sanders back in the day, Adrian Peterson more currently), some exciting wide receiver, a great/pretty great QB, defensive player, or someone worth keeping the channel on. Now it’s just a bunch of specialists who switch teams every year so I see the game on TV, with no one I like playing as a team or individually, and then..
- The commercials. Endless. Watching a game without switching the channel is incredibly painful. Perhaps baseball is “boring,” but the pace of how it is televised is based on the pace of the game, not on commercial deals.
- The referees/rules/flags etc. Holding calls are so inconsistent and quite often, lame. If it’s obvious, call it, but most of the time, who cares. People aren’t paying hundreds of dollars to see their team lose yards on a big play because some guy held a guy’s shirt that he was in front of anyways miles away from the play. Pass interference calls/no calls are so bizarre and should be reviewable.
- Concussions. As someone mentioned here, once that entered my psyche, it’s hard to just knowingly watch guys ruin their lives. Their kids have to watch them deteriorate, etc. And people who say “they know what they’re doing and are paid for it” should think about how they behaved in their late teens, early 20s, and if they really understad the repurcussions of their decisions then. You think you do, but you don’t, and based on the development of the brain, consequences really aren’t that well understood unil the late 20s for most adults.
- The scandals. Goodell has handled everything like a goddamn blowhard. From Pacman Jones, Michael Vick, Bountygate, Ray Rice, Deflategate, and on and on. He wanted to be the sheriff, turned everything into a national scandal in order to save face, but ultimately made most situations worse. Not to mention the media’s complicity here. ESPN became unwatachable during deflategate and many haven’t returned since (or to football).
- Attention spans. As our attention spans have become shorter and shorter thanks to smartphones etc., people don’t want to sit there for 3.5 hours of…anything. Not even football. You watch a play, then check your phone for the next 25 minutes straight…before you know it, it’s half-time and you realize whatever you were reading was seemingly more interesting than the Bucs vs. Titans. So you shut the game off and go back to Instagram.
So like most complex issues, there’s more to the ratings issue than just the protests, election, etc. I don’t see ratings suddenly spiking when the election is over (Walking Dead is coming back, after all). The NFL is going to have to find a way to bring viewers back as they have overplayed their hand with a crappy, overpriced product.