It took the Baltimore Ravens awhile to get in the game against the Houston Texans last night on Monday Night Football, but in the end they grinded out a 23-16 victory, keeping the Super Bowl XLVII champs on track for their first playoff appearance in three years. However, now 12 weeks into the controversial season, it was only a dark victory for ESPN and the NFL that one might detect in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” poem.
With a 6.0 in metered market results, last night’s MNF hit a season low. The number will no doubt add juice to President Donald Trump’s tweet tackle this morning:
At least 24 players kneeling this weekend at NFL stadiums that are now having a very hard time filling up. The American public is fed up with the disrespect the NFL is paying to our Country, our Flag and our National Anthem. Weak and out of control!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2017
Now, the empty seats at M&T Bank Stadium might have been a warning sign for the first post-Thanksgiving MNF after yet another controversial weekend. Even though no player from either team protested last night, certainly avoiding showing the playing of the entire national anthem revealed how worried the league and networks are that politics has contributed to the near double-digit ratings declines this season. Or maybe it was just that neither team has a big national following, and injuries have depleted their ranks.
Whatever the reason or reasons, Monday’s MNF was down 17% from the close November 20 game that saw the Atlanta Falcons beat the Seattle Seahawks 34-31. Up over the previous MNF, last week’s game went on to deliver a 3.5 rating among adults 18-49 and 10.8 million viewers.
To add more context, last night’s MNF dipped 2% from the previous season low of the October 16 matchup between the winning Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts. Not sure a lot of that had to do with the Supergirl start of the latest Arrowverse crossover on the CW, if you know what I mean.
For instance, looking back over a year, the drop between last night’s MNF and the comparable one of November 28, 2016 is harsh. Ravens-Texans fell 33% in MM ratings from the Green Bay Packers’ 27-13 win over the Philadelphia Eagles a year ago. (It might be added that the 2016 MNF also faced a Supergirl start to the DC heroes crossover of that year, and that the Packers and the Eagles have much greater national appeal.) Overall, that Week 12 game of last season saw a 4.2 rating in the key demo and 13.06 million viewers.
Even with last night’s now, ESPN looks to have won Monday in primetime. We’ll update with more MNF as well as those Supergirl crossover ratings and more later. However, for now, park it with this: last night’s MNF peaked with a 7.1 MM rating in the 9:30-10 PM slot.