Some have called NFL players modern day gladiators and, from an entertainment standpoint, it’s a winning comparison. For ancient Romans, the gladiator fights were must-see spectacles held in a stadium that drew in a large portion of the population. In the U.S. today, football games garner the same amount of large-scale attention. Lives aren’t at stake, but there is a lot riding on each game.
Anyone who has questioned whether football viewership is on the decline need only look at last year’s stats from the NFL, The Nielsen Company and networks:
- · 202 million unique viewers watched NFL games in 2014. That’s equal to 80% of homes in the U.S. with televisions.
- · On average there were 17.6 million viewers for each regular season game.
- · The 2015 Super Bowl alone drew in 161.3 million viewers and solidified its spot as the #1 watched show on record.
- · Football games were 45 of the top 50 shows watched in fall 2014.
- · Viewership was up 53% for Thursday night games.
- · In the last 10 years NFL games on broadcast television have had a 25% increase in average viewership.
Clearly the NFL is more popular than ever, and there’s no question that fantasy football leagues have increased viewership in recent years. Whether you watch for the love of the sport or to keep tabs on your fantasy football players, here’s a look at three teams that are sure to surprise and entertainment viewers this year.
Step aside Patriots. There’s a new northeast team to watch this football season. The two teams actually battled it out on the opening weekend. Even with Tom Brady on point in the game, playing at Gillette Stadium and Pittsburg coaches experiencing communication technical issues, the Patriots barely beat out the Steelers with a 28-21 win. Once Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant and Maurkice Puncey return, the Steelers could shake things up mid-season.
Sign up for DIRECTV in Pittsburgh and you’ll get access to NFL Sunday Ticket, which guarantees you won’t miss a moment of the action at home or on the go.
The Dolphins haven’t been high on most people’s radar since the Dan Marino era. But 2015 looks like it could be a turning point, despite the ridiculously tough competition in the AFC East division. The team owners made some big moves this year that included bringing star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh into the fold with a 6-year contract. The offensive team is getting a boost with the addition of running back Jay Ajayi and wide receiver DeVante Parker. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill with his impressive 66% pass completion rate will also be one to watch and add to your fantasy football team.
Last year the Vikings had a rough season with Adrian Peterson out for the majority of the year and a rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater at the helm. But both will be coming out hot right from the start, ready to bring the Vikings a winning season. Interestingly, receiver Mike Wallace is a common thread among all three of the teams mentioned here. He started out in Pittsburg where he showed great promise. This year he was traded by the Miami Dolphins to the Vikings. Suffice to say he may be looking to redeem himself during the 2015/2016 season to prove he was worth the trade. The Vikings have been rebuilding their team over the last several years and now it looks like everything is coming together.
It’s not clear yet which teams to make the playoffs, but one thing is always certain during football season – across the country millions of viewers will be tuning in and coming together to cheer on their favorite team.