Billionaire Mark Cuban took a sharp look at how many NFL games were being broadcast and how diluted the brand looked back in 2014 and pronounced: “Hogs get slaughtered.” From the ratings this season so far, the NFL is looking pretty porcine. The product that’s going out on the air — choppy, unpolished, lacking drama and slathered in advertising — isn’t winning viewers. Ratings are down by as much as 15% according to some sources. The grind of watching today’s NFL is even proving too much for its own announcers.
On Monday night, as the miserable New York Jets surrendered to the Arizona Cardinals 28-3, ESPN broadcasters Sean McDonough and Jon Gruden admitted their jobs were getting harder. Blame it on the three Ps: the penalties, the pauses, the patchiness of play. Gruden said “it’s a hard game to broadcast. Every play there’s a penalty” — an assessment that hardly seemed like an exaggeration. McDonough frankly admitted:
“If we’re looking for reasons why TV ratings are down in the NFL all over the place, this doesn’t help. The way this game has been officiated, it’s not something anybody wants to watch.”