Seahawks’ Blowout Win Sees ‘Sunday Night Football’ Ratings Down, Again

Dominic Patten

On a day that ended in gunfire and tragedy at a country music festival in Las Vegas, Sunday also saw continuing controversy with NFL players kneeling before games, more standing, locking arms, and some sitting during the national anthem.

Several members of the Seattle Seahawks chose to sit before Sunday Night Football kicked off last night, while the Indianapolis Colts decided to link arms in a show of unity for equality and racial justice. The result saw the Colts crushed as the Seahawks overcame early struggles (the Colts led the game at halftime) and scored a blowout 46-18 win.

Whether it was politics or the final score or a mix of both, it was no victory for NBC and the NFL last night.

With a 11.0/19 in metered-market results, last night’s SNF was down 5% from last week when the Washington Redskins beat the Oakland Raiders 27-10. As the league took another week-by-week ratings hit just a month into the 2017-18 season, Sunday’s game also was down a bit year-to-year. Compared with the then-season-low of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 43-14 smackdown of the Kansas City Chiefs in primetime on October 2, 2016, last night’s SNF dipped 2% in the early numbers.

On a night of competition on the other nets, that 2016 game ended up with a 6.7/22 rating among adults 18-49 and 18.06 million viewers. Against the debut of Star Trek: Discovery and more, last week’s 8:30-11:15 PM ET Redskins-Raiders battle saw a final numbers of 6.3/23 in the key demo and a total audience of 17.48 million.

Now, blowouts usually always pour cold water on NFL ratings, and all things considered, last night’s MM numbers held up OK. However, with the politics that have become such a watched player in their own right in the past few weeks, the league might be close to having reached a tipping point as of yesterday. Barely ahead of last year’s struggling season in the ratings, the big-money NFL now finds itself losing traction in the numbers and public perception.

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We’ll update later with more SNF numbers later, plus the debuts of Ten Days in the Valley, Ghosted, Wisdom of the Crowd and more. Right now, we’ll say that last night’s game peaked with an 11.7/19 during the second quarter’s 9:30-10 PM slot. Also, here are the Top 10 markets for last night’s game:

  1. Seattle – 42.5/68

  2. Indianapolis – 21.0/33

  3. Portland – 18.9/34

  4. New Orleans – 16.4/23

  5. Milwaukee – 15.3/25

  6. Norfolk – 14.3/23

  7. Richmond – 14.3/22

  8. Denver – 13.7/23

  9. Buffalo – 13.7/21

  10. Kansas City – 13.3/22

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