Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles took down the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. The game was an instant classic — backup quarterback Nick Foles led his team to a shootout win over the greatest dynasty the sport has ever seen.
Nevertheless, the game’s overnight household rating of 47.4 (the percentage of American households tuned into the game) was the lowest since Super Bowl XLIII in 2009. This decline represented a disappointing regression for the NFL, one which they hoped they would rebound from.
Last night’s snoozer between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams unsurprisingly didn’t produce better numbers. The early overnight household rating comes in at 44.9 — far lower than last year’s percentage and the lowest since 2009.
A touchdown not being scored until the 53rd minute of the game didn’t help either. While football fanatics may have enjoyed the game, it was extremely boring for most casual fans (who make up the majority of the country). There’s a reason the league has gradually been pushing for rule changes that would benefit the offense over the past two decades — scoring is good for business.
It’s possible that Patriots fatigue factored into the decline as well. The New England Patriots have played in 4 of the past 5 Super Bowls. They’ve accomplished this extraordinary feat fairly and it’s hard to not respect it, but it’s also understandable that some fans may be getting bored of watching the Annual New England Patriots Invitational.
While all of these theories are certainly plausible, a big part of this decrease could be the city of New Orleans’ effective boycott of the game. One of the biggest football markets in the country earned a 26.1 rating, the lowest of any market in the country and the lowest ever in the Big Easy.
After all, regular season ratings this year were up by 5% after a huge decline last year. The AFC Championship Game was the most watched conference title game in five years. Experts expected the Super Bowl to follow the trend.