The National Football League (NFL) is in a tough situation right now, and they are doing nothing to fix it. Their TV ratings have plummeted deeper than imaginable, and their games are becoming more boring than staring at a wall. Overall, the ratings of NFL games have gone down 15% since last year, and Monday Night Football ratings have fallen 14.7%.
“Last weekend, I painted the kitchen and applied shelf paper in the cupboards,” said Nancy Bailey, a former NFL fan. “Not because I had to, but because it truly sounded more interesting than the games.”
Let’s go over some reasons why this is happening:
First, screen passes and short slants control the game, and they are not as interesting as long passes down the field. Quarterbacks today have some of the highest completion percentages of all time because of the short, quick passes they execute every play. It is understandable why teams call short plays so often: offenses consistently get three to five yards every play. However, encouraging deep passes and more running plays will change the game, make it more interesting for the fans, and will separate the good receivers and running backs from the bad.
Second, touchdown celebration penalties are a reason people aren’t watching anymore. People live for those crazy, extravagant and fun touchdown dances. Creative touchdown celebrations were the reason a lot of people watched football. The NFL has penalized and fined players for practically every touchdown celebration this year, from Brandin Cooks’ famous bow and arrow celebration to Vernon Davis shooting the football like a basketball to Antonio Brown twerking.
“We do believe that our players are role models and others look at that at the youth level. So that’s important for us to hold that standard up. And it’s part of being a professional. So that’s one element of it,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about the touchdown penalties.
While it is understandable that the NFL is trying to keep the role model standard up, I don’t believe that shooting the football like a basketball is inappropriate. There will never be an iconic dance anymore because of the penalties distributed every time a player moves after scoring a touchdown. The referees need to calm down and let the players celebrate, because they earned those touchdowns!
Lastly, according to a CNBC poll, 55 percent of the people surveyed said that players kneeling during the national anthem has been a factor in their disinterest in the game. The players who kneel absolutely have the right to protest the country, but an NFL field is not the right place to do it. If it is offending the paying customers and viewers, and the NFL should have banned the protests the moment they began. The NFL needs to put an end to them.
The NFL has a large amount of work to do to improve fans’ interest in the game. People just aren’t watching the games anymore. These simple suggestions would be a massive step in the right direction and could raise TV ratings dramatically.