The NFL opened its 2017 season Thursday night, in much the same way that it played out the 2016 season. The game featured the team that won the final game of the year last season, the game was high-scoring with plenty of offense, the game featured an anthem protest, and the league’s ratings went down.
The game between the Chiefs and the Patriots drew a 14.6 overnight rating on NBC. That rating is down nearly two full points from last year’s 16.5 number for the Panthers-Broncos opener, and more than three points down from the Steelers-Patriots opener in 2015.
Why, the steep decline?
While the ratings have clearly trended down for a number of seasons, last night’s game did feature an anthem protest from Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters, and it’s entirely likely that many tuned-out after seeing that: