It must be noted, though, that games involving the Cowboys-the league's most high-profile team-tend to get higher ratings than other games regardless of whether there are national anthem protests involved. Overall, the league saw a 12% drop in ratings in week one and a 15% drop in week two, according to Nielsen.
NBC said 20 percent of households watching TV at the time viewed the game, down from 21 percent for last year's Bears and Cowboys game. Total ratings for Week 3 games increased 3 percent from the same period last season.
The performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" was promoted on-air before it was performed, with an all-caps onscreen legend reading "National Anthem Coming Up Next" on top of a shot of USA troops holding flags of the US, the state of Arizona, and the P.O.W./M.I.A. movement.
With ESPN's WatchESPN live stream service, and the ability to catch game replays on NFL Game Pass and even streaming options from Verizon and Xbox to add to the madness, you'll be able to watch Monday night's battle from pretty much anywhere you want.
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Trump's attacks likely attracted more viewers to watch their favorite teams' reactions.
For contrast, CBS' Sunday games, as a whole, saw a slight uptick in viewership compared to a year ago, while Fox's afternoon game was down 16%. That was huge for the cable show, which has to battle against established broadcast competitors such as "Fox NFL Sunday" and "The NFL Today". ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown" opened its show with 22 minutes of Trump conversation, creating some "honest television and the best discussion of the issue" yesterday. Trump's take was doubly untrue: The NFL's ratings may be sagging, but they're not "way down". The first Sunday night game on NBC received a 17.00 rating in 2017 in the Rockford region compared to a 13.24 rating in 2016.
But before you read too much into the drop, realize the rating for the victory over the Cardinals was up three percent from the Cowboys only Monday Night Football appearance in 2015, a 19-16 victory over NFC East rival Washington on December 7.