That said, given the tumultuous NFL week that led up to the Week 2 games, it’s at least worthwhile to take a look at the TV numbers to see if the raw data tells us anything about the impact on viewership
Awful Announcing breaks it down here, time slot by time slot, and finds that in most cases TV ratings were down in Week 2 this year compared to Week 2 last year. The most notable drop came in the late afternoon time slot (3:25 p.m. Central games), which CBS had this past week. Per AA:
CBS saw the biggest drop of any window, as they had Broncos-Giants — AKA Manning Bowl III — in this window last year. That said, it’s a little surprising that a window mostly led by Chiefs-Broncos and Jets-Packers drew only a 14.6 overnight, still leading the weekend but down 18 percent from this window last season.
Again, the 18 percent drop could be chalked up primarily, if not entirely, to less-enticing matchups this year when compared to a major story line a year ago. Still, as the site notes, an 18 percent drop is significant (and, on a personal note, fits neatly into the time we turned the TV off after the Vikings instead of watching more football, as had been our previous custom).
The noon time slots on Fox and CBS were down 4 percent and 7 percent from this time last year. Sunday Night Football was up slightly from a year ago (3 percent), though it was noted on Awful Announcing that last year’s Week 2 game went up against a big episode of Breaking Bad and also featured a rare weather delay.
What do these numbers mean? Probably not much given that it’s only one week. What will bear watching, however, is whether it marks the start of a trend in which ratings are consistently dropping when compared to last season. The overall NFL TV numbers are still so massive that a small drop doesn’t really dent the big picture of how popular the sport still is, but a little drop here and a little drop there could add up to trouble. We’ll try to check in on the numbers periodically throughout the season to see if there are any larger trends at play.