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NFL Ratings Down Big on Opening Night Amid Renewed Anthem Protests

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The NFL opened its 2017 season Thursday night, in much the same way that it played out the 2016 season. The game featured the team that won the final game of the year last season, the game was high-scoring with plenty of offense, the game featured an anthem protest, and the league’s ratings went down.

The game between the Chiefs and the Patriots drew a 14.6 overnight rating on NBC.  That rating is down nearly two full points from last year’s 16.5 number for the Panthers-Broncos opener, and more than three points down from the Steelers-Patriots opener in 2015.

The sports media would gladly point the finger at politics, as the cause of the ratings drop. Though, no debate, or matter of pressing national importance was being discussed in politics on Thursday night. Some have opined that coverage of Hurricane Irma, might be the culprit. Though, it rings hollow that coverage of the storm would cause a 12% decline in ratings from last year.

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