If you’ve been following along with the NFL this year, you might know that the TV ratings have been significantly down. And if you thought that a less-than-riveting matchup of the Colts and Texans on Sunday Night Football in week six would continue that trend, you were absolutely right.
Per NBC Sports, the game did a 9.0/15 overnight rating, which led the primetime slot on Sunday night. But while they still won the night, the ratings are concerning: according to Awful Announcing, the game had the lowest market-metered rating of any Sunday Night Football game since 2011 and the game was down 38% from the week six SNF matchup last year.
Last year’s week six Sunday night game was an intriguing one, as it featured the Colts hosting the Patriots in an AFC Championship game rematch (that would become known as the game in which the fake punt fiasco happened). This year’s week six game was down 38%, and while part of that might be the matchup, that most certainly doesn’t account for all of it. That’s especially evident when considering it’s the lowest market-metered rating for any Sunday night game since 2011 - and that game was the Colts vs. Saints blowout in which Indy lost 62-7 in the lowpoint of their awful 2-14 season. So yes, Sunday night’s game between the Colts and the Texans hit a five-year low for ratings, just beating out a game in which the winless Colts played without Peyton Manning and instead with Curtis Painter at quarterback and got beat by 55 points. That’s not good news for NFL ratings.
It’s unclear why NFL ratings have been dropping, and many people have pointed to the presidential election. Plus, on Sunday night the Chicago Cubs were hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers in game two of the NLCS, so there were other events on TV that might draw people away from a lackluster AFC South matchup. But nonetheless it’s an issue for the NFL this year, and all we know is that the solution to the ratings problem probably isn’t a primetime AFC South matchup.