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The NFL ratings slump is getting worse

 

The TV audience for NFL games steepened its slide in Week 11, losing 1 million viewers versus last year’s season-to-date average.

The 6.3 percent slump — worsening from comparable declines of 5.6 to 5.7 percent during the previous three weeks — plagued a week whose off-the-field drama made gridiron tackling seem almost tame by comparison.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones remained the major distraction by continuing to battle with fellow team owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Jones brought even more tension to Week 11 when video footage surfaced late last week of the football tycoon making a racially charged remark at a 2013 wedding party.

President Donald Trump added to the off-field antics with a tweet calling for the suspension of the Oakland Raiders’ Marshawn Lynch for not standing for the national anthem during a game played in Mexico City.

Only two games had audience gains.

The NBC “SNF” during which the Philadelphia Eagles whopped the Dallas Cowboys 37 to 9 managed to attract 12 percent more viewers than the comparable contest a year ago.

Fox’s single header on Sunday, which saw the New Orleans Saints sneak past the Washington Redskins 34 to 31, drew 10 percent more viewers.

After starting 11.8 percent behind last year’s TV audience for NFL games in Week 1, league viewership had either held its own or narrowed the gap through Week 8.

The 6.3 percent shortfall in Week 11 reflects an average viewership of 14.9 million for the NFL’s 68 national telecasts this year versus 15.9 million for the season-to-date in 2016.

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