Mac Engel

Both Trump and Jerry were right about the NFL

The kneeling movement has been bought off by the league as all parties involved have agreed to create the perception of honoring the flag. You will notice you have read or seen virtually nothing of late regarding the movement that began with Colin Kaepernick roughly 18 months ago.

We are on to the next thing, and it looks like the NFL is not dying after all.

Turns out Trump was right, and he was wrong, about the NFL. And Jerry Jones was right.

In September, President Donald J. Trump tweeted, “NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country.”

This Tweet is just another in a series of from-the-lip Tweets from our President, who can’t help from establishing himself as the greatest Commenter in Chief. At the time, he was in a fight with the NFL over the protest movement, which now feels like 40 years ago.

People bought his Tweet, because there are just enough shades of truth to it.

NFL ratings have dropped, because all TV ratings are dropping.

Some fans were alienated by socially active players.

Some NFL games are boring, because that’s sports. And then, as witnessed by the Minnesota Vikings win against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional Round playoff game on Sunday, nothing beats it.

And now for this bit of news: Fox, ABC (owned by Disney) are currently bidding against CBS and NBC for the worst NFL game of the week: Thursday Night Football.

Hours after participating in the protest movement when the Cowboys played the Cardinals in Arizona in September, Jerry addressed the media from the podium. He was at his capitalist best that night, avoiding Trump’s name to saying all of the right things to appease both sides.

When I asked him if he thought the President was right about TV ratings dropping as a result of the protests, Jerry paused before answering.

“What I know is when ratings drop, rights fees go up,” he said.

Meaning the more money he makes.

Thursday Night games are dogs, but that has not stopped networks from spending like a disgruntled trophy wife to obtain their broadcast rights.

The big issue is the medium itself, TV. TV isn’t the same anymore, and all networks are trying to figure out how to retain their bottom line while adapting, and adopting, to a streaming world of hand-held devices that are stuffed with entertainment options.

The lure of live content still makes the NFL one of the most desirable products on screen for advertisers. The NFL remains not only the most consumed product in sports in North America, but all entertainment.

The league still thrives in the 18-49 demographic, which is the priority. Ratings for Sunday Night Football were down, and yet it was still the No. 1 prime show for a seventh consecutive year.

There is a reason why four TV networks are bidding for the rights to air one game on a weeknight, even if it’s a dog.

Trump’s Tweet had some validity, but, ultimately, Jerry was right — fewer people might be watching, but the price keeps going up.

Mac Engel: @macengelprof

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