Ratings Decline

Why wasn't the Super Bowl exciting?

Sbnation.com

The ratings for Super Bowl LIII have come in and they aren't what CBS and the NFL were hoping for. Even though nearly 100 million viewers tuned in for the big game, there was a roughly 5% drop from last year. The full ratings breakdown isn't available yet but even a small dip in the first set of numbers is something the NFL should take seriously.

As for me, I watched the game. Sort of. I had every intention of sitting down and enjoying every snap and every commercial break, including halftime. But when it came down to it, life got in the way. I wasn't invited to, or even aware of any Super Bowl parties amongst my friends. Even if there were, I'm not sure I would have felt compelled to rush through everything I needed to do this weekend just so I could go celebrate the biggest game of the season.

When I look at my social media and the local coverage leading up to the game, I get the sense I'm not the only one who was going to watch the game at home with family while I continued to go about my day. It's a far cry from when I was younger when it felt like the hype surrounding the game was bigger than the game itself. I'm sure bars were packed and there were still plenty of people hosting parties, but I got the sense it isn't like it used to be.

Right now, the NFL has some huge problems that affect how people view the game of football. So much so that there's probably some fatigue with it all. Concussions, protests, bad officiating, and even the Patriots; all these contribute to a lack of excitement that previously didn't exist on Super Bowl Sunday.

How many people decided not to tune in because once again it was Tom Brady and Bill Belichick? I would say that might have been the biggest factor. No matter who represented the NFC, I knew they would face a coach and quarterback combo that would out think them. Belichick knows how to plan for his opponents and in the Super Bowl it takes a great individual effort or a surprise play call that shifts the momentum away from his game plan. As cool as it is to be in the era of Tom Brady, we all know that the Patriots don't care about exciting football; only winning. I have too much to do to dedicate my time to a slow-moving chess match. I was right, there weren't any plays that will go down as all time highlights in the annals of the NFL.

How many people decided not to watch the Super Bowl because they were still upset that the New Orleans Saints got screwed out of an appearance by horrible officiating that changed the most likely outcome of the NFC Championship? The Rams chance to play for a title will always seem tainted by what happened at the end of that game and a conscious or subconscious lack of interest in the Rams probably permeated the mood a lot of fans had about the Super Bowl.

I know it did for me. I was less interested because I felt like someone not playing the game made such an egregious mistake that the outcome was not what it should have been. In my mind I have no doubt that the Saints were the team that belonged in the Super Bowl. As good as the Rams were all season, there is an asterisk next to them and I cared more about taking care of my home life than watching a team that shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Let's talk about commercials. Have they gotten so expensive that it is no longer worth it? Sure, there were still some great commercials that fit the idea of what a Super Bowl ad should be. Is it me, or have they become more political than years past? Are there fewer themed campaigns by companies that involve multiple different commercials that made you want to go watch all the variations later?

I saw that Bud Light kept it alive but overall, the humor and creativity seem to be in decline. That's something I noticed in previous years. I can't remember the last time I watched a Super Bowl and felt I had to stay glued to my seat because any one of the commercials was going to make me crack up laughing or be some cinematic experience condensed into 30 seconds.

Finally, what was up with that halftime show? I get it that the NFL wants to cater to a wide audience, but the performance of Maroon 5 was very bland and because of the need to fit in multiple pre-announced guest artists, the songs were a little rushed. Travis Scott's performance felt out of place and the pageantry of Big Boi should have been its own full show. I appreciate other artists contributing but it should be a surprise duet on a song of the headlining artist or something made to fit more smoothly into the performance. That entire halftime show could have been better and when the non-football fans are disappointed in one of the big reasons they watch, the second half numbers probably dropped off. That might even cause a ripple into next year's game.

When it's the biggest game of the season and the only one on, people are going to watch. But with everything happening in the NFL and in real life, sometimes people don't feel like Super Bowl Sunday is a de facto holiday anymore. If the Patriots fail to make it back next year and we see two new teams untainted by serious controversy, interest might return. If the halftime performance is one major artist with no special guests announced prior to the game, non-football fans might get more excited. But the way I see it, Roger Goodell and the rest of the braintrust in the NFL front offices have a lot to address when it comes to making fans want to fully dedicate themselves to the Super Bowl like they used to.

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio and Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

THE CASE FOR COLIN KAEPERNICK

Over the weekend Colin Kaepernick had a workout. It was a circus and there was a lot to be said about it. Stephen A Smith and Max Kellerman could have done a whole special on the issues hovering over this one and I know there's plenty of people who say that alone is a good enough reason to not bring this guy back. If you're a fan of some teams right now though, you might need to be rethinking your position and honestly there's plenty of reasons to bring him back.

SO MANY BAD QUARTERBACKS ALREADY

If you're the Washington Redskins, you could easily absorb another controversy because as far as your front office is concerned, nothing is wrong in 1-9 Washington and maybe the O-Line won't laugh at this guy as he begs them to block. Tampa Bay keeps talking itself into giving $20 million dollars to Jameis Winston who has never shown he is worthy of this much patience. The Bengals could use anyone else at quarterback as Andy Dalton is having a meltdown on the field in real time and will this guy even be in the league next year? The Titans have already quit on Mariota and got nothing else to lose. The Chargers long time starter just threw four interceptions in a game they had to have against a division rival, so wouldn't it be nice to know there's someone behind him to look towards as they continue their LA transition? The Broncos still don't have a quarterback and just IR'ed Flacco after he said they are the problem (to be fair, he probably thinks Baltimore was the problem too). The Bears are a quarterback away from being a wild card team and the Lions are back to playing Lions football and Carolina has no clue if or when Cam Newton is coming back. That's nine teams that don't have a very good reason to not at least give a look at bringing Kaepernick onto the roster.

TEDDY BRIDGEWATER

A few years ago Teddy was the guy in Minnesota. They had him and Adrian Peterson and spent money on offensive players and really thought they were going to be the jewel of the NFC North and then Bridgewater suffers one of the most horrific knee injuries in recent major sports memory during a practice, with rampant speculation about whether or not he'd ever play again starting immediately. It takes all of the 2016 season and then in 2017 he plays in one game. He then signs in New Orleans and plays in five games and looks good and New Orleans loves him and paid him decent money to stick around and he passed up a chance to start in Miami to stay in New Orleans according to rumors. Then this year he steps in for Drew Brees and keeps the Saints season alive to hand back to Drew when he's healthy. I say all of this to say, the right team could manage the rust off of Colin like New Orleans did for Bridgewater. Kaepernick could come in on pitch counts and work his way back in if the issue is being in shape, and if he's in shape and playing then he buys a franchise a few years at starter so they can take their time in finding the next franchise quarterback.

MICHAEL VICK, TYREEK HILL AND KAREEM HUNT

There are guys who played in the league after going to prison (Michael Vick). There are guys in the league who are on video assaulting women (Kareem Hunt). There are guys in the league who have failed drug tests (Josh Gordon). There are guys in the league who have plead to DUIs and DWIs (numerous). There are guys who are accused of beating their children (Tyreek Hill). There are guys who have pled guilty to reckless assault after being charged with a felony for child abuse (Adrian Peterson). That guy recently admitted he still uses a belt to discipline his children. Greg Hardy played another year in the league after allegedly beating his then girlfriend and throwing her on a pile of assault rifles and threatening to kill her. I say all of that to say Colin Kaepernick hasn't had any of these kinds of issues, he made a political statement and it seems to say more about the people who don't want to see him come back but have been far quieter about the other guys who have come back over the years.

AND SO...

I know there's controversy to deciding to bring Colin Kaepernick back, but the reality is there are bad quarterbacks in the league now, there are bad teams in the league and there are worse guys in the league than him. So what hill exactly are we all trying to die on here? What's the point of the fight to keep him out? Because he disagreed with some people politically and chose a visible way to get their attention to show them as much? I won't get into the rights and wrongs of kneeling or not kneeling, the hypocrisy of the NFL making the US armed services pay them to recognize veterans while asking the fans to please stand and honor the troops. It's a disservice to us the tax payers and an insult to us as Americans the way the NFL has turned patriotism into ratings and therefore Kaepernick into a problem. Bring him back and prove him wrong or prove him right by how you react next time someone says something you disagree with.

Feel free to check out my brand-new comic book Another Day at the Office or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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