Fans BoycottNFL is Working, Ratings Tumble After 3 Weeks of Player Anthem Protests

The NFL is the biggest ratings powerhouse on TV, but so far this season even the mighty football league has found itself watching its ratings fall.

Through the first two weeks of the regular season, the league’s premiere game, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” is down 12% in viewership compared to last year; ESPN’s big game, “Monday Night Football,” is also down 12%; and CBS’ first “Thursday Night Football” game fell a whopping 26%, according to Nielsen data.

Even with these declines, the NFL is still bigger than most everything else on TV. Through two weeks, NFL coverage on all networks is averaging 18.3 million viewers. To put that into perspective, the season six finale of “The Walking Dead” brought in around 14 million viewers.

But that average is still down from 20.1 million viewers over the same time frame last year, which is concerning to networks and anyone else banking on the future of linear TV — because if the NFL isn’t immune to ratings drops, what is?

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