SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Super Bowl LII: Has the NFL peaked?

Though it long held the title of most-watched TV broadcast in the U.S., this year's Super Bowl comes at a tumultuous ...

Posted: Feb 4, 2018 12:29 PM
Updated: Feb 4, 2018 12:29 PM

Though it long held the title of most-watched TV broadcast in the U.S., this year's Super Bowl comes at a tumultuous time for the NFL.

The league's TV ratings have taken a 10 percent dive from last year. Some of its most prominent players, including Aaron Rodgers and J.J. Watt, suffered injuries on the field. Head traumas and concussions continued to rise. And in perhaps the biggest "unofficial game" of the season, the NFL squared off with President Trump after he criticized players who knelt during the National Anthem to protest social and racial injustice.

Times aren't all rough -- the league recently closed a five year deal with Fox Sports for "Thursday Night Football" -- but the lead up to Sunday's game between the Eagles and the Patriots is raising questions about the NFL's status as an organization.

"I think the narrative that we need to look at is that it's not necessarily falling apart or on fire, but rather that it's no longer immune to the trends that are taking place on all of media and all of TV," CNNMoney media reporter Frank Pallotta said. "For a long time, the NFL felt like it was above it all. And for a long time it was. That is no longer the case."

Pallotta and CNNMoney sports business reporter Ahiza Garcia sat down with Brian Stelter to discuss the various factors at play in the NFL's rocky season for this week's Reliable Sources podcast.

The Super Bowl LII comes amid a time of dropping viewership metrics for the league. Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 had the largest audience in TV history, with 114.4 million viewers. About 111.3 million people watched 2017's game; this year, more than 110 million are expected to tune in.

Do the declining numbers signal that the NFL has already hit its peak? Pallotta doesn't entirely think so. "You also need to say, 'How many things can bring in 100 million people and connect that many people in this divisive country right now?' It still is the Super Bowl."

"That being said," he added, "I don't want to sound too bullish on the NFL. It does have a lot of issues, including the game itself."

Garcia said player protests were "an example of the turmoil" the NFL has faced over the past few months.

"I think the player protest thing is obviously hugely polarizing," she said. "It's a huge issue that the NFL has really tried to solve in a way that kind of satisfies the players but also keeps fans happy."

And, in addition to injuries and spats with President Trump, one of the most prominent issues of the season dealt with dramatic moments "off the field."

"I think one of the bigger things that I think was most shocking is the way that owners were kind of at each other [this season] and it played out very publicly," Garcia said. "The NFL for so long has done such a good job of kind of insulating any conflicts that it had, and really kind of keeping up a veil between what happens behind the scenes and what the public sees. But this was just so public."

So what's the ultimate status of the league? "It's in a transitional phase right now," Garcia said. "But honestly, I think that despite the tendency that everyone has to try to say, 'This is the thing that's going to end the NFL,' the NFL is doing really well... I mean, it's still the biggest juggernaut in sports and it's the thing to beat still."

Pallotta agreed that the NFL is "perfectly fine" as it wraps up its season.

"I think ultimately we as journalists, and people who are watching media, and TV observers have a predisposition to really kind of look at things as if things are coming to an end," he said. "...But ultimately [the NFL] is not dying. It's still the biggest thing on television by a large margin."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 445047

Reported Deaths: 5955
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin924911470
Ramsey39703735
Dakota32788331
Anoka30811360
Washington20004225
Stearns17775185
St. Louis13546240
Scott1189996
Wright11548102
Olmsted1035775
Sherburne815765
Carver691436
Clay648478
Rice600166
Kandiyohi552871
Blue Earth538033
Crow Wing479673
Otter Tail453464
Chisago449732
Benton416785
Winona386246
Douglas372466
Nobles366746
Mower362328
Goodhue343657
Polk327756
McLeod323144
Morrison310043
Beltrami308746
Lyon299835
Itasca282643
Becker281738
Isanti281141
Carlton278143
Steele27119
Pine265113
Freeborn241320
Todd230929
Nicollet223336
Brown213734
Mille Lacs212845
Le Sueur208515
Cass206123
Meeker198533
Waseca188816
Martin169126
Wabasha16883
Roseau165316
Hubbard148338
Redwood139227
Renville136539
Houston135313
Dodge13304
Chippewa130832
Cottonwood126518
Fillmore12215
Wadena119416
Rock109512
Sibley10797
Aitkin107133
Watonwan10618
Faribault104615
Pennington97715
Kanabec97218
Pipestone93823
Yellow Medicine93314
Murray8655
Jackson85010
Swift83018
Pope7355
Marshall70115
Stevens6978
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65616
Lake62915
Wilkin6229
Koochiching59010
Lincoln4821
Big Stone4543
Unassigned43468
Grant4257
Norman4228
Mahnomen4087
Kittson37019
Red Lake3164
Traverse2473
Lake of the Woods1801
Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 303065

Reported Deaths: 4267
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45335447
Linn17673274
Scott15356163
Black Hawk13648236
Woodbury12945175
Johnson1202149
Dubuque11300149
Pottawattamie8934112
Dallas881171
Story863434
Webster467471
Cerro Gordo462968
Sioux453356
Clinton448361
Warren437538
Marshall425561
Buena Vista391529
Muscatine386177
Des Moines380641
Plymouth348868
Wapello340898
Jasper319658
Lee313530
Marion301752
Jones269649
Henry263230
Carroll253034
Bremer242048
Crawford228122
Boone216217
Washington214231
Benton208544
Jackson190831
Mahaska190736
Tama185657
Dickinson184226
Delaware172236
Kossuth170543
Clay166019
Wright162724
Fayette159522
Buchanan158023
Hamilton157829
Winneshiek154819
Harrison154462
Hardin153929
Cedar151419
Clayton150748
Butler146424
Page143715
Cherokee138127
Floyd137936
Mills136016
Lyon133632
Poweshiek132324
Hancock128824
Allamakee126827
Iowa122822
Calhoun12209
Grundy120026
Jefferson119524
Madison11869
Winnebago118229
Mitchell115634
Louisa114130
Cass112541
Chickasaw110512
Emmet110231
Sac110215
Appanoose109638
Union108122
Humboldt104219
Guthrie102224
Shelby101326
Franklin101218
Unassigned9210
Palo Alto9019
Keokuk84325
Montgomery84022
Howard82519
Monroe80518
Clarke7817
Pocahontas77211
Ida73830
Greene6887
Davis68721
Adair68620
Lucas6468
Osceola6349
Monona63316
Worth5983
Taylor5919
Fremont5036
Van Buren49412
Decatur4784
Ringgold4269
Wayne41421
Audubon4108
Adams2953
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Cloudy
20° wxIcon
Hi: 26° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 14°
Mason City
Mostly Cloudy
17° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 7°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
18° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 18°
Austin
Clear
18° wxIcon
Hi: 26° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 18°
Charles City
Cloudy
19° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 9°
A big temperature swing is on the way
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

John Marshall ready for 2021

Image

Is the City of Rochester paying men and women equally?

Image

LWVMN asks for "truth and consequences" for state lawmakers

Image

Sports Overtime Part 2

Image

Sports Overtime Part 1

Image

Plans for polar plunge

Image

Equal work and equal pay.

Image

Aaron's Friday Night Forecast

Image

Mega Millions jackpot soars to $750 million

Image

Increase in 2021 travel plans

Community Events