Be Careful – NFL Ratings Will Drop In 2022

Embed from Getty Images

With each day that passes after the Super Bowl, we inch closer to kicking off the 2022 slate. This is your warning —  NFL should anticipate a rating dip.

“Rating dip? What on God’s green earth are you talking about, Marc? Fans love the NFL and the league can do NO wrong! The Big Game generated about 112.3 million viewers. Super Bowl LVI marked a 14% increase from last year’s Super Bowl between the Buccaneers and Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium. It marked the largest day in sports media history. What makes you suggest a slow down in momentum?”

Well, here are three reasons why I anticipate a dip in NFL ratings.

1. No Tom Brady to Bolster NFL Ratings

If you would like to label Tom Brady as the greatest of all time, by all means, go for it! From my perspective, you will never be able to prove that Touchdown Tommy was better than guys like Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, Daniel Jones, etc. (Stop freaking out. This is my article and have every right to make a small joke. Of course it is sacrilegious comparing Brady to Jones. At least I got you reading the next sentence or two!)

It’s an indisputable fact that Tom Brady commands star power. He has been the golden face of the NFL for the past 10 years if not longer. With this shiny star gone, expect general interest in the sport to decline. For the duration of 2021, the NFL capitalized on Brady’s fame. According to Sports Media Watch, 11 of Tampa Bay’s 17 regular-season games aired in at least half of all US television markets.

My argument is fairly straightforward. Up and coming stars like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Daniel Jones, and Joe Burrow bring excitement to the game. However, they are not Tom Brady. In 2016, TV ratings declined sharply after Peyton Manning’s retirement. My bet is that we see something similar with the absence of Tom Brady.

2. Politics Storm Back into the Football Viewership Fold

Regardless of your political views, politics is a triggering topic and will affect NFL ratings. In the months leading up to election day 2022, politics and their mid-term elections will dominate the news wire. In addition to the Manning retirement, the 2016 NFL season clashed with the Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton presidential race. As a result, NFL viewership declined as casual fans sought out other forms of content / TV entertainment.

As big as the NFL is, they have not been prone to negative publicity.

  • January 2021- Washington Football Club / Daniel Snyder sexual misconduct scandal — an NFL Hot Topic.
  • May 2021Deshaun Watson and Houston Texans sexual misconduct scandal
  • October 2021– Jon Gruden resigned as Raiders Head Coach after homophobic and misogynistic emails emerged
  • November 2021– Former Las Vegas Raider wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was formally charged with four felonies and a misdemeanor stemming from a car wreck
  • December 2021– Urban Myer fired from Jacksonville Jaguars (Player & staff abuse acquisitions)
  • January 2022 Brian Flores was fired by the Dolphins after three seasons; drama ensued
  • February 2022Chris Lammons and Alvin Kamara fight in Las Vegas during Pro-Bowl

It seems as though a new negative NFL story breaks monthly. I feel that the casual fan is at a breaking point and ready to tune out as a result of the negative press and politics.

3. The Biggest Markets Stink!

According to Nielsen’s 2020 DMA rankings, our nation’s biggest media markets are New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Each of the NFL teams associated with each of these markets poses its own set of NFL rating challenges.

Los Angeles – The Chargers bring football optimism and charm to the city of angels while the Rams are fresh off a Super Bowl victory. However, these franchises are relatively new tenants living in a shiny new home. These organizations will draw national attention as long as they are competitive and local viewership will grow. It is just going to take time.

Throughout 2021, we watched the LA opposition invade SoFi stadium. How locked in are LA NFL fans locked into their local teams?

Chicago and New York – The Chicago Bears, New York Giants, and New York Jets stink! Neither team has sniffed a playoff victory in years. The Bears’ and Jets’ last playoff victories came in 2010. Since the 2011 championship run, the New York Giants have been a disaster. Poorly run organizations, coaching, and play have led these teams to 14 combined victories out of a possible 51. Neither team has had a winning season since 2018. (Chicago Bears with 12 Wins)

Fans of big market NFL teams are growing impatient and restless. With losing on the horizon for New York and Chicago, expect a dip in overall viewership. How many times can you tolerate viewing a bad product? The NFL can tolerate this in smaller markets but need to walk a fine line with the larger ones.

Thank you for reading why I think you can expect a dip in NFL ratings. You can check out all of my gaming, sports investing, and general NFL HOT takes on my IDP Guys author page. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter @MarcSaulino and follow @IDPGuys in an effort to stay informed about everything that is NFL relevant. 

Scroll to Top