The NFL decided to take a knee. And viewers are taking a knee too.
The TV audience for NFL games steepened its slide in Week 11, losing 1 million viewers versus last year’s season-to-date average.
The 6.3 percent slump — worsening from comparable declines of 5.6 to 5.7 percent during the previous three weeks — plagued a week whose off-the-field drama made gridiron tackling seem almost tame by comparison.
This is what happens when you set out to offend the values of your audience.
The NFL made the mistake of following a strategy pioneered by the rest of the television market. But that market just dumped its viewers and accepted lower ratings as the tradeoff while using their ad agency pals to offset the losses. The NFL can't quite follow that strategy. And the downturn hit really fast because the audience wasn't expecting the anti-American turn.