Are the Patriots Bad for Football?

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Nicole Manall, Opinion Editor

Who will watch the Super Bowl?  

The New England Patriots have somehow managed to make their way to yet another Super Bowl, but at what cost to the NFL? Super Bowl tickets are usually incredibly expensive, but the average resale price is approximately $1,000 less than it was at this time last year. The average asking price is $7,078, which is a bargain compared to last season’s value of more than $9,000.

Seeing your team in the Super Bowl, for most, is a once in a lifetime experience, whether it’s watching it on television or experiencing it in real life. For a lot of Patriots fans, that experience has already happened. This is their ninth Super Bowl since 2002. The Los Angeles Rams on the other hand, who only recently returned to the city after a 21-season hiatus, have not been to a Super Bowl since 2000.

If less people are going to the Super Bowl, does that mean that viewers will watch? The Super Bowl has long been one of the most viewed sporting events, but recently their audience has not been tuning in. An estimated 103.4 million people watched the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots last year, which was the smallest audience that the Super Bowl has seen since 2009.

“I’m reluctantly going to watch the game just because I still love watching football and I hope I get to at least see the Pats lose again,” said senior sports management major, Devon Maida. “I have had enough of the Patriots though, so I have thought about not watching, but I know I will end up watching anyway. If they are in it next year then I definitely won’t watch.”

Unlike the Patriots’ last Super Bowl foe, the Philadelphia Eagles (go birds), the Rams do not have as big or as passionate of a following. Ticket prices for their stadium alone were one of the worst the NFL has seen in years. With the Rams fan base still developing and some Patriots fans tapped out, not only could ticket prices continue to decline, but viewership could be at an all-time low.

If somehow, the Patriots win yet another Super Bowl (which would be their second in the four years that I’ve attended UNH), does that mean that NFL’s ratings could plummet even lower next season? If almost every Super Bowl features the New England Patriots, will fans outside New England still watch, hoping their beloved team has some chance of the reality show known as the National Football League writing a season-long script for their team? Only time will tell and when the ratings are recorded, it might be a wake-up call for the NFL.