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NFL Ratings to the Haters: Shhhhhh

The Big Lead logo The Big Lead 9/29/2020 Brian Giuffra
a close up of Roger Goodell in a baseball uniform: Roger Goodell laughing with NFL refs. © Provided by The Big Lead Roger Goodell laughing with NFL refs.

The NFL ratings for Week 3 are out and the results are clear. The NFL still reigns supreme.

For CBS, Week 3 saw viewership increase 8 percent year-over-year, averaging 16.5 million viewers for their singleheader coverage. According to CBS Sports PR, it was the "most-watched singleheader in September since 2018."

Meanwhile, FOX saw a more modest increase of 1 percent year-over-year (22.789 million viewers) for their broadcast of the Seahawks thrilling victory over the Cowboys. That was the second most-watched TV show of the year. The top-rated show? The Bucs season-opener against the Saints on FOX. In fact, all 15 of the highest-watched shows this season all come from the NFL.

There have been many detractors prognosticating a decline in NFL ratings this year based on the fact that the NFL is supporting players in their right to speak out against social injustice in America and protest during the national anthem, which those people believed would alienate a large swath of the population. Instead, it seems like it's business as usual for NFL viewership.

On the flip side, there have been some year-over-year ratings downturns. The season opener was down in 2020 vs. 2019 and there are reports this past week's Thursday night game featuring the Dolphins and Jaguars was the lowest in four years, though it was still the No. 1 show in primetime with 5.4 million viewers. That seems like a product of two bad teams devoid of star talent (sorry, Gardner Minshew) more than anything. The previous Thursday night was up year-over-year. As for Sunday Night Football, it has three of the highest-rated broadcasts this season.

Regardless of agenda, these numbers speak for themselves. The NFL is still winning the viewership battle to the chagrin of some.


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