ESPN will air national anthem, NFL Unity ad on Monday Night Football

Posted September 27, 2017

To come up with overnight ratings, Nielsen takes the percentage of households watching in 56 US markets and comes up with an overnight average - so an 11.6, for instance, means that 11.6% of households in those 54 markets tuned into the game on NBC on Sunday night.

After a weekend of political firestorms and blasts from President Donald Trump over players kneeling in protest during the national anthem, leave it up to America's self-described team to find a middle path and cut the NFL some ratings relief.

That is an eight percent drop in viewership from the prior week's game when the Atlanta Falcons beat the Green Bay Packers, and a 10 percent drop from early numbers for last year's equivalent Sunday night game during the third week.

National Football League ratings were also down an average of 8% over the course of last season. CBS' later game drew a 13.8, down 1% from previous year.

NBC said 11.6 percent of households tuned into the game, down from 12.9 percent who viewed the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys in last season's week three.

"Overall, according to the NFL, Week 3 ratings were slightly higher than Week 3 in 2016", CNN reported.

It was a tumultuous weekend for the National Football League in more ways than one.

The networks saw huge boosts for their pregame shows, though. The controversy could be bad news for television networks, if vast numbers of viewers decide to tune out all at once.

On the surface, it appeared the NFL's viewers were in for yet another humdrum matchup to kickstart Week 3 when the Los Angeles Rams were slated to take on the rival San Francisco 49ers.

Trump began a firestorm around the NFL on Friday night when he went after the league and attacked players who have been kneeling or sitting during the national anthem to draw attention to social justice issues. Those opposed to the protests have said it is disrespectful to the military and flag.

The protests are expected to continue through Monday Night Football as the Dallas Cowboys face the Arizona Cardinals.

Only six players protested during the anthem in Week 2, but after Trump's criticism over the weekend, around 200 players took part on Sunday.