Across Monday's and all of Sunday's games, even the dampened showing from NBC's marquee primetime showdown, gross overnight ratings for league showdowns weren't off from those of 2016.
The unified image capped off a weekend that saw over 200 players kneel during the anthem in protest of police brutality, racial injustice, and the divisive comments of President Trump, who repeatedly stated that any kneeling protester should be "fired", while attacking the league's "bad ratings".
CBS also took a hit to its national coverage of the Cincinnati-Green Bay game, which attracted a 13.8 rating compared to a 13.9 rating during its week-three coverage previous year.
Earlier in the day, ratings for CBS' NFL doubleheader were up 4% from the same week a year ago. Fox's first pregame show, "Fox NFL Kickoff", was up 30% compared to past year while its second pregame show, "Fox NFL Sunday", was up 9%. Ratings for the game rose 63% above the week three game from 2016, according to ESPN, though that game suffered from being in direct competition with a presidential debate.
L attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. "People are watching less and the thing people don't realize is that NFL's decline got a lot of attention last season but the decline was happening before that".
Still, the dip in audience is hardly "way down" as Trump claimed again on September 24 in a separate tweet, on a weekend when he told a rally in Alabama that NFL owners should consider "firing" any player that kneels for the national anthem in solidarity with black America.
The early ratings numbers, which are incomplete and subject to a great deal of change, showed CBS' numbers up compared to the same week past year, while NBC and Fox's numbers were down. Those opposed to the protests have said it is disrespectful to the military and flag.
Other networks had to deal with National Football League games running longer than the time they were allotted on television.
LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills kneels during the national anthem on Sunday in Orchard Park, New York.