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Luck-less Colts See TV Ratings Plummet

NFL: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 Indianapolis Colts season was an interesting one. When it was announced early in 2017 that star quarterback Andrew Luck would need shoulder surgery, little did Colts fans know that it would linger on into training camp, into the preseason and ultimately cost the 28-year-old Stanford product his entire season.

No one could’ve predicted it — not even Colts owner Jim Irsay who was confident that Luck would be ready for camp and certainly for the season. When that didn’t happen and as it became more and more obvious that Luck was not going to play, the Colts, in a last-minute move, traded away wide receiver Phillip Dorsett to New England for quarterback Jacoby Brissett a few days before the team’s season opener against the Los Angeles Rams.

While Brissett filled in admirably for Luck given the circumstances, one truth remained — he wasn’t Andrew Luck. He wasn’t the quarterback that Irsay had been confident would be ready for the season. Sure, you could hype Brissett up, you could admire his courage and leadership — but still... it wasn’t the same.

Once finding out that Luck would miss the entire season, many fans were outraged because they felt as though they had been lied to. Even if Irsay was told false information and didn’t intentionally do so, he did mislead fans into believing a false hope that Luck would 100 percent be a “go” for Week 1 of the regular season. Luck himself even admitted a week ago that there was “no chance” that he played in 2017.

As a result of the botched Luck news and a 4-12 record, the Colts’ local television viewership really suffered compared to previous years.

According to Anthony Schoette of,

“Central Indiana television viewership of Colts games this season was down 26 percent on average compared to a season ago. Ratings dropped from a 30.0 household rating for the previous regular season to 22.2 this season, according to Nielsen Media Research.”

“To put that into perspective, 321,900 central Indiana households on average tuned in last season compared to 238,206 for the season that was completed Sunday, according to the Nielsen data. That’s a decrease of almost 83,700 central Indiana homes.”

Schoette pointed out that the significant drop in viewership may or may not have to do with the team’s 4-12 record but possibly due to the 1.6 million fewer people tuning into the NFL each Sunday. Nevertheless, winning sure helps the team.

Schotte also pointed out that

“Colts games scored a 34.3 rating (368,125 households) in 2014, the last season the team made the playoffs.”

The team finished that season 11-5 and made it to the AFC Championship game, the last time the Colts have been to the playoffs.