NFL ratings down 11 percent from same point last season

Politics, lackluster match-ups, referees and the absence of Tom Brady have all been blamed

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady shouts as he takes the field for warm-ups before an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s a shocking statistic for some football fans: ratings for NFL games are down 11 percent for the first six weeks of the season compared to a similar point last year.

For fans here in New England, many were waiting until week five when Tom Brady returned from his 4 game suspension, but these viewership numbers are down across the NFL. Football has long been a ratings powerhouse.

Northampton resident and football fan Ian McCormick told 22News he believes the lower viewership has a lot to do with scheduling. “There’s been a lot of debates going on on Sunday and Monday nights,” he said. “Also, the marquee match-ups haven’t really been coming through on Sunday and Monday nights. It’s been good teams vs bad teams, or just two really bad teams in general.”

Some of the drop in viewership could have to do with politics mixing with sports. According to Sporting News, 32 percent of Americans say they are less likely to watch NFL games because of players protesting the national anthem. Another complaint from viewers was referee’s having too much control of the game.