If the ratings for the Monday Night Football game between the Miami Dolphins and Carolina Panthers were a military weapon they would be described as, well, a tank.
Because that’s what the ratings did when the Dolphins and Panthers put on their show Monday night -- tanked.
Ratings for the NFL season’s Week 10 show the Dolphins and Panthers earned a 6.2 in 56 metered markets. That is a decline of 18 percent from last week’s Monday Night Football game, the second-worst showing for Monday Night Football this season and -- here’s the big one -- the fourth-worst Monday Night Football ratings number since MNF moved to ESPN in 2006.
Perhaps more painful for the NFL and ESPN is that there was seemingly no sports excuse for the watching public to not tune in to this game. The lowest-rated Monday Night Football game this season -- an October game between the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts -- was obviously a meeting of small market teams, but also came in the middle of the Major League Baseball playoffs. That game drew a 6.1 rating.
The Dolphins-Panthers game had no such sports competition.
In the Miami/Fort Lauderdale market, the Dolphins drew a 12.1 rating combined on Channel 10 (WPLG) and ESPN. That is relatively low when measured against ratings other NFL teams garner in their local markets. So you blame fickle sports fans in South Florida, right?
Those same fans rallied to help the University of Miami nationally telecast game against Notre Dame earn a 15.6 local rating two days earlier.
Plummeting ratings have been a sore subject at the NFL’s New York headquarters and league spokesmen often point to television ratings being down across the board or how the NFL typically wins its marquee time slots on Sunday and Monday night.
But there is no denying that nationally, fans for various reasons are no longer flocking to the NFL as they have in the past. And there is no denying that locally, Dolphins fans have been lukewarm at best the past six weeks about watching the Dolphins play.