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NFL Sees Lowest Season Opener TV Rating Since 2008

Only one player remained seated during national anthem…

NFL Sees Lowest Season Opener Since 2008 McCain Speech
Image: CBfromNC via Youtube

(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Some are blaming the 45-min. weather delay, others a slow-paced first half in the matchup between the Eagles and the Falcons on Thursday, to kickstart the 2018 NFL season.

However, the ongoing controversies generated in the week prior by Nike and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick certainly didn’t help matters when it came to the league’s continuing struggles with viewership.

Ratings indicated that it was the lowest draw in 10 years–the last time numbers were so low being when the game was pushed up to 7 p.m. to accommodate John McCain‘s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.

Sports Media Watch said the season-opener’s overnight returns gave it a 13.4 share, down 8 percent from last year’s Chiefs-Patriots matchup and 19 percent from the previous year’s Panthers-Broncos game.

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The highest rated share was 2015’s Steeler’s-Patriot’s game, according to a tweet from Sports TV Ratings:

Not surprisingly, NBC, which broadcast the game, tried to put a positive spin on the numbers by tweeting that it was the network’s best rating for any sporting event since the, uh, 2018 Olympics. (It should be noted that Fox Sports and Telemundo held the broadcasting rights to the summer’s World Cup soccer tournament.)

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Ironically, given many viewers were likely put off by the kneeling during the national anthem–which the Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson openly endorsed–none of the players took a knee on Thursday.

The one exception, according to Newsmax, was defensive lineman Michael Bennett, who remained seated as Boys II Men sang the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

As the cameras panned through shots of a nearly empty stadium in pouring rain, Philly defensive end Chris Long, a vocal Trump critic and advocate for kneeling, was shown on camera enthusiastically standing with his hand over his heart.

Long had tweeted his support for Nike earlier in the week:

Safety Malcolm Jenkins, who had participated in the protest during preseason games, was reportedly also standing on the sidelines.

The Eagles beat the Falcons 18-12.

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