The NFL ratings numbers are in for 2017 and they aren't too promising. Nielsen Ratings Service puts annual viewership this year at about 14.9 million---still high relative to other sports, but a 10% drop since 2016. And 2016 saw an 8% viewership loss over 2015.
According to Business Insider, the NFL has had a sustained viewership decline since 2013---and that fact is starting to worry investors. The Anthem Protests have had an effect this season; particularly in stadium attendance. But the whole picture is obviously a much larger one.
Professional football is losing fans because it stopped appealing to sportsmen and started pandering to Trash Culture and Political Correctness. Many of us well recall from our youth our football heroes. Our fathers and grandfathers and even great-grandfathers told of us theirs. But how do we make heroes of today's NFL players? Nobody wants to pay the hyperinflated stadium prices to show their sons a bunch of thugs.
Men who'll sell out their team and community for the highest bidder; men who are in and out of jail on drug and domestic abuse charges; men who wear pink socks for Feminist causes; men who protest the National Anthem, men who come out as 'openly gay' etc. These aren't the actions that normal, well-adjusted men find inspiring or want to share with their progeny.
The NFL has so far abandoned the principles of its founders that it has become almost as bad as professional wrestling. Games were once Sunday and a Monday Night affair; with two special games on Thanksgiving Day. Today, football games are run on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays with three Thanksgiving games. The playoffs---which used to be a face-off between Divisional Champions has been dumbed-down to the ridiculous level of College Bowls where practically any team finishing in the top half of the League can qualify. The NFL Championship/Super Bowl used to conclude around Christmastime; now it extends into Mid-February. This hardly the commitment to excellence and professionalism that the NFL founders dreamed of. But it does reflect the petty money-grubbing of today's NFL owners.
There have also been recent allegations of NFL cover-ups of Traumatic Brain Injury and clandestine Steroid use, as well as other drugs. It is of singular interest that NFL players of the last few decades have remarkably short life-spans for men of high athletic ability. Players of the earlier generations tended to live about as long as average men did.
Thus, to put it bluntly, America's National Sport has become a cesspool.
The NFL is going to have to clean up its act---and soon---because it is currently on track to fall to pre-television era levels of attendance and viewership within a few years. Whether its leadership has the character to effect this anymore remains to be seen.