The sight of empty seats in NFL stadiums (it's not just Los Angeles, either) apparently has translated to fewer eyeballs watching games on television. 

Guess the NFL isn't immune to declining TV ratings that have plagued other professional sports after all.

Ad Age reports through the first two weeks of the season, CBS' viewership of the NFL is down 10 percent from last year. Ratings for last week's single-game window for CBS was its lowest in week two since at least 1998.

Even what seemed to be a pretty juicy Sunday Night Football matchup between Green Bay and Atlanta on NBC didn't fare well. It was the least watched week two Sunday night game in nine years.

Ratings for the three NBC games thus far (including the Thursday night opener between Kansas City and New England) is down seven percent. Remember, NBC typically gets one of the best games of the week.

So what gives?

No doubt stories about concussions and CTE haven't helped. But perhaps the biggest reason — the NFL is guilty of greed. Imagine that.

With the introduction of a Thursday night game every week in the schedule since 2012, fans have more games available than ever before.

There's Thursday night, two games Sunday afternoon, Sunday night and Monday night. That's basically five three-hour time periods out of your life.

Who wants to give up that much time for football, especially when there's also college football on Saturdays (and many other days, too)?

Maybe fans are deciding they'll skip one or two of the NFL games to do something else. Even fantasy football followers don't have to watch every game. Just click on your smartphone to catch up on your matchup.

One solution would be for the NFL to bag that Thursday night game. The quality of play is usually atrocious. Try getting your body to recover from a series of collisions in three days and see how you feel.

But don't count on that. 

College FB: Notre Dame at Michigan State (Fox, 7 p.m. Saturday): This is the kind of game Brian Kelly needs to win to keep his job as the Irish coach in 2018. 

MLB: Cubs at Cardinals (Comcast, FSM 7:15 p.m. Monday): Final week of regular season starts with St. Louis clinging to playoff hopes in start of four-game series against bitter rival headed to another NL Central title. 

NFL: Bears at Packers (CBS, 7:25 p.m. Thursday): Chicago fans clamoring for Mitchell Trubisky to take over at QB might want Mike Glennon to absorb expected beatdown from Green Bay's defense.  

Contact Jim Benson at


Sports Writer

Sports Writer for The Pantagraph.

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