The NFL has become one of the most divisive brands in the country in the wake of its players protesting during the national anthem, but on Sunday, there seemed to be a change of heart. Only three players took a knee during the anthem, and many even went out of their way to do things in honor of the veterans present.
The Atlanta Falcons wore initials of fallen soldiers on their helmets, and Alejandro Villanueva, who was the only member of the Pittsburgh Steelers to appear for the national anthem on Sept. 24, handed out Army decals for his teammates to place on their helmets for their game Sunday.
Josh Norman, a cornerback for the Washington Redskins, even gave Robert B. Neller, a four-star general in the U.S. Marine Corps, his cleats.
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) November 12, 2017
Now the ratings are in for “Sunday Night Football,” which featured the New England Patriots facing off against the Denver Broncos. Neither team kneeled during the national anthem, and the ratings were up almost 20 percent on Veterans Day weekend compared to last week.
Last night’s controversy-free but certainly singing challenged Sunday Night Footballscored an 11.5/19 in metered market results.
Looking over its shoulder to last week’s near season low, last night’s game was up almost 20% in the early numbers. That result certainly seems to prove again that the big-draw Patriots, like the Dallas Cowboys, can almost always complete the Hail Mary for the seemingly fractured league and the network. …
As on-field tributes were paid throughout the league on Veterans Day, the ratings contrast was not quite so winning, however, compared with last year’s New England-Seattle battle. Last night’s game was down 20% in MM numbers from the November 13, 2016 face-off between the Patriots and the Seahawks.
The end result is quite the difference from last week but still very low compared to last year.