With the NBA and MLB way off from where they used to be in popularity and t.v. ratings, the NFL just gets better and better. This year's super bowl between the Packers and Steelers was the most watched show ever in t.v. history, over 111 million watched it! Last year's Super Bowl previously held the record with 106 million views. In an annual Harris Poll in regards to America's Favorite Sports, of course the NFL came out far ahead over #2 baseball, #3 College Football and #4 Auto Racing. The NFL was almost twice as popular over baseball in the poll! It's all about the NFL and then everything else just helps to pass the time, when it comes to sports in the US.
One reason the NFL is so great compared to other sports is in my opinion is - we almost always get a happy ending. It just seems the majority of the time the "Villain” in the NFL ends up losing, leaving millions happy. Take this year, in several "Most Hated Athletes" polls, Ben Roethlisberger was in the top 10 (mainly due to his suspected sexual assault case this past summer). With Green Bay being a favorite by bookmakers and most analysts to win the Super Bowl, many impartial viewers like myself (I live in a city with no NFL team) made sure they tuned in to see Big Ben lose. Like it or not, the simple fact is that usually in the NFL the face of the team is the QB, and many wanted Big Ben to lose because of his off field antics. I know Steelers fans will think differently and they should, but unless you are Steelers fan, why would you cheer for a two-time accused sexual offender? Let's be honest, guilty or not, most feel Big Ben is just plain stupid for putting himself in that situation not once, but twice! We just don't like the guy. So seeing him lose, makes us feel good.
Last year we saw the feel good story of the Saints, I mean after Katrina who didn't want to see the city of New Orleans win a Super Bowl? The year before that we saw an Arizona Cardinals team come seconds from shocking the world in probably the most exciting Super Bowl ever. You have to remember in that Super Bowl Big Ben had not be charged with his first sexual assault, that didn't happen until after the Super Bowl. Even though in that Super Bowl there were really no villains, the average football fan just wanted a good game and instead we were treated to a great game.
Take a look at the other major sports - baseball for example; did anyone even watch the World Series this past year? The t.v. ratings for this past World Series tied for the worst ever! One of the World Series games lost in a head-to-head matchup against a regular season Sunday Night NFL game! And what about the NBA you ask? You shouldn't ask. The NBA is so distant; it's really not worth talking about. Unless the Lakers are involved in the NBA Finals, you might as well not watch. Even with Kobe Bryant, the Lakers and the NBA can't compete with the old Jordan Era or Magic/Bird Era. Did you know that game seven of last year’s NBA Finals had 28 million viewers? Impressive right? Not when you compare it to Jordan's final championship game against Utah in 1998 when 72 million people watched. You can argue whose better Kobe or Jordan all you want, but I think we know who people liked to watch more.
The NBA and MLB have huge problems, Kobe Bryant and A-Rod for example have won championships in the last few years and though they are loved by Lakers and Yankee fans, they are continually voted on annual “Most Hated Athlete” lists. If you work for a living you will quickly realize the simple fact that if one of the biggest names in your industry is hated by many, it's not good for business. Sure there are more Lakers and Yankee fans (mainly bandwagoners) simply because they are winners, but as I have noted it's just not good for business. Who wants to see a team with individuals on it you can't stand - win? This helps explain why numbers for the NBA and MLB have decreased over the last 10 years and the NFL has increased. The NFL almost always gives us what we want; excitement and the good guys defeating evil.
Who didn't like seeing the Diva Bret Farve lose to the Saint in the NFC Championship game last year? Who didn't like seeing Big Ben lose in this year’s Super Bowl? Who didn't want to see the city of New Orleans win it all last season? Of course the answer will be the loyal fans for the losing team and we all understand that. But for those of us who just love sports and love seeing an exciting game and the good guys win, the NFL is really the only sport that gives it to us. When the NFL doesn't give us that, ratings and viewership will certainly go down, but let's hope that never happens. I mean sure I would watch a potential Super Bowl of the Bangles vs. the Eagles but come on, do you really think it would get huge ratings like the last two Super Bowls? T.O. and Ocho Cinco are two of the most hated athletes in the polls I mentioned earlier, but they are all far behind the number one Michael Vick! So let me ask you - if you were not a Bangles or Eagles fan, who would you vote for, the two ego maniacs or the convicted felon? I think many would vote by simply not paying attention to the game and more to their Super Bowl guests and commercials.
Well NFL, thank you for another great season. The good guys defeated the bad guys and everyone who is not a Steelers fan is happy (that is if you didn't lose money on the game). Rodgers is now an elite QB and Big Ben the two time defendant ends up blaming himself for the loss. The NFL gets it right again!