Monday was a good night to be Drew Brees, and not such a great night to be the NFL or ESPN. While the New Orleans Saints quarterback became the league’s all-time leader in passing yards after a quick second-quarter move on Monday Night Football, the Saints’ 43-19 demolition of the Washington Redskins was a ratings fumble.
The primetime matchup last night on the Disney-owned sports cabler snared a 7.3 result in metered market ratings, down 20% in the early metrics from the Kansas City Chiefs’ 27-23 MNF victory over the Denver Broncos on October 1. While steady with the comparable game between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears on October 9, 2017, last night’s MNF marked a season low.
It should be noted that the Vikings’ 20-17 victory over the Bears was also a season low for MNF at the time last year. It should also be noted that last week’s MNF went on to have total final numbers of 13.2 million viewers and a 4.6 rating among adults 18-49.
Technically, last night’s Saints-Redskins game dipped 4% from the LA Rams’ 33-13 destruction of the Oakland Raider of September 10. However, that MNF battle was the second game of a doubleheader on ESPN’s NFL flagship show, and hence out of the norm ratingswise. To further the comparison, the first game of this season’s MNF opener saw the New York Jets’ 48-17 win over the Detroit Lions grab a 7.5 in metered market ratings.
Also, facing a Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees game on TBS and a full night on the Big 4 with the likes of The Voice and Dancing With the Stars, the mere 4% uptick the Saints-Redskins game had over that Vikings-Bears battle of 2017 is indicative of the precarious state NFL ratings find themselves in the past few years: an overall tightening environment where the old rules are falling away and the once impenetrable fortress of live sports are under attack like the dramas and sitcoms that make up the rest of primetime on broadcast and cable.
On the other hand, it sure is good to be Brees right now, ratings or not:
The new 👑 of passing yards. pic.twitter.com/C5x2Ph5z4E
— ESPN (@espn) October 9, 2018