Ratings were disappointing for Sunday Night Football in a matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys in a stadium without fans.
According to Deadline “Despite two teams with big national followings, SNF snared a 4.7 in early ratings among adults 18-49 and 14.81 million viewers last night. In numbers certain to change, that’s a fall of 28% in the demo and a hard decline of 23% in sets of eyeballs from the early numbers of the the September 8, 2019 SNF season debut. While the early Nielsen data lacks West Coast numbers — kind of important when you have a team from the Los Angeles market in the mix — his result is going to be hard pill for the NFL and NBC to swallow.”
The game had the social justice theme push along with protest kneeling that has now become common place.
About a dozen #Rams kneel. Only one of the #Cowboys, DT #DontariPoe. That’s one too many, but compared to the kneeling spectacle we could have had, I view this as progress. It’s been a Week 1 filled with social justice imagery; I had hoped that would assuage some kneeling urges.
— Mark Davis (@MarkDavis) September 14, 2020
In this photo Winston Salem native and Rams assistant coach Tory Woodbury kneels during the anthem with the support of Sean McVay.
— Carolina Blitz (@KeepBlitzin) September 14, 2020
In a first for the Dallas Cowboys franchise, defensive lineman Dontari Poe kneeled during the anthem.
Dontari Poe is the first Dallas Cowboys player to kneel during the national anthem pic.twitter.com/ecnrjR7TlM
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 14, 2020
Cowboys NT Dontari Poe was team’s only player to kneel during national anthem. He is the first Cowboys player to ever do so. Reserve NT Antwaun Woods stood behind him, placing hand on Poe’s left shoulder. The two slapped hands and hugged when song concluded. pic.twitter.com/uh0yXBic9a
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) September 14, 2020
A recent Reuters poll found the net positive ratings of the entire sports illustrated has been in a year over year freefall amid the push to mix social justice messaging with sports.