The NFL's scorecard for the 2016 season:
Bottom Line: Now that the season is over with Tom Brady exacting revenge on Roger Goodell and company (which to me is the one silver lining that resulted from Atlanta's 4th quarter collapse) - there are real factors to consider for the NFL going forward. The NFL, which had been delivering ever larger audiences over time, will have to account for what it didn't deliver in this past season. Here were important numbers:
Regular season ratings: Down 8% year over year
Playoff ratings: Declines for 8 out of 10 games
Super Bowl ratings: 1.8% fewer households had the game on (2nd consecutive year of declines)
We know the election, not political antics on the football field, were used as the catalysts to explain away the regular season declines but that doesn't account for what happened in the playoffs and Super Bowl. Now that the off season is here and advertising for next season will be readied for purchase, it'll be interesting to see what the hard financial impact will be to the league - and if action is taken to allow Americans to use the NFL as an "escape" - as Hall of Famer Deion Sanders so eloquently stated in an interview prior to the game. Lady Gaga's performance was free of overt political statements was a great start and template for the NFL to use going forward. We'll likely not know exactly how many fans tuned out specifically do the protests of the flag and police on the field but we do know the NFL is about to have to account for it.