Sean McDonough Gives Brutally Honest On-Air Take About NFL’s Ratings Decline


If watching Monday night’s ugly game between the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets caused you pain — or nausea, perhaps — you’re not alone.

The Cardinals’ 28-3 win over the Jets was marred by a seemingly constant barrage of flags, as both teams committed a total of 19 penalties. New York was flagged eight times in the first half alone, nearly grinding the lopsided affair to a halt. Things got so bad in the third quarter that Sean McDonough, ESPN’s new “Monday Night Football” play-by-play man, no longer could contain himself.

McDonough and color commentator Jon Gruden spent a good minute criticizing the tight officiating, revealing some honest if uncomfortable truths in the process. Gruden bluntly admitted it was “a hard game to broadcast when every play there’s a penalty.” McDonough took it a step further, drawing a connection between poor officiating and the NFL’s latest drop in ratings.

“If we’re looking for reasons why TV ratings for the NFL are down all over the place, this doesn’t help,” McDonough said. “The way this game has been officiated is not something anybody wants to watch.”

When you combine stoppages in play for flags with the increasing number of TV timeouts after scoring plays and changes of possession, some NFL games indeed have been tough to watch. (The Jets managing just 230 total yards on offense doesn’t help, either.)

Of course, you wouldn’t expect McDonough to bash the very product he’s broadcasting, but kudos to the Boston native for calling things like he sees them.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

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