If you were among those who tuned in to the Bucs-Panthers game on Monday night consider yourself part of a vast NFL minority.
The overnight ratings for what proved to be a rather intriguing 17-14 Bucs victory are in and according to Sportsbusinessdaily.com they’re not good.
It seems the Buccaneers and Panthers drew a 6.5 rating, the lowest for a Week 5 MNF game since ESPN acquired the rights to the game in 2006.
The 6.5 rating earned by the Bucs and Panthers was just a smidge above the season-low 5.7 rating earned by the Falcons-Saints Week 3 matchup. Fans around the country had good reason to avoid that game, though. It went head to head with the first presidential debate.
The Bucs and Falcons were competing against the baseball playoffs, including the last game for Red Sox future Hall of Famer David Ortiz.
The ratings peak for the Bucs-Panthers game came at the end of the game, between 11:15 and 11:30 p.m., when Tampa Bay dramatically drove down the field for the win, and it registered a 7.5.
But, even that was still significantly lower than the 8.5 rating the Steelers and Chargers drew in Week 5 of last year.
The poor ratings mark can’t all be blamed on the bad football the Bucs and Panthers presented or the absence of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
Television ratings across the NFL are down this year, so much so that the NFL recently sent out a memo to all its teams addressing the issue.
The memo said that while the NFL and its partners are indeed disappointed with the ratings, the league remains strong and is confident ratings will be strong long-term.
That’s probably the case, but no one should be surprised if the NFL gets even pickier about the teams it shows on Monday Night Football in the future.