In a strategic move by a National Football League plagued by challenges, the last “Sunday Night Football” game of the season has been canceled.
For the first time since 1977, the season will not end with a prime time broadcast as the NFL announced the cancellation of the season-ending “Sunday Night Football” game this week, CNN reported.
Apparently, the NFL didn’t want to take any chances with a ratings fail after a year marked with plummeting viewer and fan support in the aftermath of national anthem protests by players.
According to CNN:
Since the last Sunday night football game also happens to be the final game of the season, the NFL tries to schedule a game that will definitely have playoff implications for one or both of the teams playing. (A team that already made the playoffs might sit their starters, leading to an exceptionally boring game.)
This season, there were no such games that met the NFL’s criteria on the final week’s schedule. The NFL, which hadn’t yet announced which teams would play Sunday night, would have either scheduled a game that had a chance of being a snooze or a game that already had no playoff implications at all.
“We felt that both from a competitive standpoint and from a fan perspective, the most fair thing to do is to schedule all Week 17 games in either the 1 p.m. or 4:25 p.m. windows,” Howard Katz, the NFL’s senior vice president of broadcasting, said in a statement. “This ensures that we do not have a matchup on Sunday Night Football or New Year’s Eve that because of earlier results, has no playoff implications for one of both of the competing teams.”
The @NFL has finalized the Week 17 schedule. pic.twitter.com/P9RnwwI1EI
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) December 25, 2017
Seven games have been scheduled for 1 p.m. eastern time, and nine games for the 4:25 p.m. kickoffs, as the 8:30 p.m.game was eliminated.
And, while the move may not be a surprising one given the historically low ratings on New Year’s Eve, it certainly seemed a fitting end of the year for the sports league that has seen a 9 percent decline in ratings this season, according to CNN.
Nearly 450,000 people fled these three deep blue states in 2017
Sunday Night Football Failure !!
NFL cancelled the Final Sunday Night Football Game.
Who’s Kneeling Now !!!!!!! https://t.co/DrY7j0ocY2 pic.twitter.com/OZAIuAT4Wy
— John ‘Wish I Was A Bot’ Stands ?? (@JrcheneyJohn) December 27, 2017
Twitter users reacted to the announcement with expected applause.
— michael (@michaelchipman8) December 27, 2017
— Kevin B (@Kabktb) December 27, 2017
Whoa!!!! Winning again! Bye Sunday Night Football and NFL.
— ??Kaby?? (@KSouth4trump) December 27, 2017
Lol. It’s the last week of the season with no compelling games left. It’s not canceled due to ratings. It’s on New Year’s Eve. People are out. I would love to see ratings plummet to get rid of Goodell. But I’m also a guy who gets why this was done for real though
— Bill Mc C (@Pats12bill) December 27, 2017
Serves this loser of an organization right. Next step is to cancel NFL until the spoiled brats learn how to act right.
— GRIZZLE (@GrizzleMeister) December 27, 2017
Ha! They did it to themselves. #NFL cancels final Sunday Night Football game of the Season. Kneeling Did It! Sorry Guys – You Stand For Our Flag or Lose. https://t.co/wqSed2k1Qe
— Cutie1 (@CuteScarley) December 27, 2017
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