Back in My Day.....

The NFL rating have dropped 11% for the first 5 weeks.

Why is this happening?

Well, many people have offered their opinions on this:

  • the game play is so bad

  • too many points

  • too few points

  • bad QB play

  • pad level on tackles is bad

  • players get paid too much

  • owners are greedy

  • the social protests

  • bad match-ups

  • too much parity

  • only a few good teams

  • the election


As you can see, all of these shitty opinions boil down to one thing: everything was just better back in the day.

I am so tired of that take. In fact I am tired of any take that is not backed up by facts. I hear people who have national radio shows that say some of this poo. And when these ‘experts’ start talking to the world, it becomes fact.

So here is my take on this: if the NFL is indeed worse now than before, please tell me the era which things were better and let’s compare.

The three major opinions voiced are bad QB play, parity, and bad match-ups.

As far as bad QB play, was the amount of good QBs different five years ago? Ten years? Twenty years? Without listing rosters for you, the answer is no. There has always been about 4-5 great QBs, 6-8 above average guys, 10-12 dudes who just throw the ball, and a few fill-ins for the season. This is true in every damn season I researched.

Parity, well, this is garbage as well. I did some statistical work on the distributions of winning percentage of teams per season. Defining parity is all teams going 8-8 and the opposite being all teams going either 0-16 or 16-0, I found zero difference in the distributions of winning per season. In other words, there are just and many 14-2/2-14 teams or 8-8 teams every season every season since 1967. Do dice on this one.

And bad match-ups, maybe this is the most reasonable. But look about over the past 5 seasons, those match-ups are really about the same. Ever since NBC scored Sunday Night Football, they get the marquee game and Monday Night gets the leftover. Those match-ups are about the same really when you reflect back. This is more of a matter of opinion, but this is not a strong enough reason to account for this 11% decrease.

So why do I think?

Well, I will go with three things:

  • Oversaturation. Thursday, Sunday, and Monday. That is a lot of football. Not for me, but for casual fans I think it is.

  • NFL to fan relationship. There is no question the NFL is the greediest of the Big 3 leagues in the US and they neglect the fan relations aspect the most. The owners don’t think they need to reach out because, well, they haven’t had to. Hopefully they feel the need they have to now.

  • Natural randomness. Nothing is static forever, so this could be noise and not a signal.

Anyway, there is no real right or wrong answer. But generally, when offering an opinion on something, think about it and bring some intelligence to the argument. Just because things change does not not mean your ‘day’ is better than the current ‘day’.