This NFL season has been marked by protest and political activism, as professional athletes from across the country “take a knee” in the same vein as Colin Kaepernick. Their disrespect has now come back to bite them, though, because they have all been hit with a nasty surprise as football season comes to a close. This has some majorly negative implications for the National Football League, as it hasn’t happened in forty years.
For the first time since 1977, the last “Sunday Night Football” game of the season has been canceled. Instead, there will be seven games scheduled for 1 p.m. and an unusually high nine games scheduled for 4:25 p.m. kickoffs. For the first time in four decades, there won’t be an 8:30 p.m. game.
“We felt that both from a competitive standpoint and from a fan perspective, the most fair thing to do is to schedule all Week 17 games in either the 1 p.m. or 4:25 p.m. windows,” said Howard Katz, the NFL’s broadcasting chief, in a prepared statement. “This ensures that we do not have a matchup on Sunday Night Football or New Year’s Eve that because of earlier results, has no playoff implications for one or both of the competing teams.”
Apparently, the NFL wasn’t about to take any chances after a year marked by plummeting ratings, thanks to decreased fan support in the aftermath of the National Anthem protests.
The last time a “Sunday Night Football” game took place on the final night of the year was in 2006 when the Chicago Bears hosted the Green Bay Packers. That game was Hall of Fame member Brett Favre’s final game with the Packers. Despite that fact, the game only drew 13.4 million viewers, which for that season was a quarter of the typical audience for “SNF.”
In a season plagued with lower ratings due to the national anthem protests, the league’s decision was not surprising. [Source: The Daily Caller]
Fans on social media pointed to the cancellation of the final “Sunday Night Football” game as a deserved consequence of disrespect shown by NFL athletes this season. “Serves this loser of an organization right. Next step is to cancel NFL until the spoiled brats learn how to act right,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Ha! They did it to themselves. #NFL cancels final Sunday Night Football game of the Season. Kneeling Did It! Sorry Guys – You Stand For Our Flag or Lose,” tweeted another.
“Overall, the ratings for the NFL’s season are down 9% from last year,” reported CNN. “For most of the season, the league’s critics, including President Trump, have pointed to the declines as a sign that players kneeling during the national anthem in protest are hurting the league’s popularity.”
Patriotic football fans who were disgusted to see overpaid athletes kneel on the sidelines as the National Anthem played before games responded by boycotting the NFL, and week after week, stadiums around the country looked increasingly barren as Americans refused to spend their hard-earned money on game tickets.
Likewise, fans stopped tuning into the games at home, with many even canceling their NFL television packages in order to show the league that they would not stand for the senseless kneeling. Some business owners even refused to show the games at their restaurants and pubs — a risky move for those who operate sports bars, but one which ultimately paid off for the owners.
The news that the final “Sunday Night Football” game of the season has been canceled this year confirms that the NFL boycott has worked. Patriots set out to hit these self-entitled athletes where it hurts the most, and their response has worked. This is proof that no person’s act of defiance against the system is too small.