All sports leagues aways want you to remember the previous season as one to remember for years to come. Even more when the season ends in the most stunning fashion, for example, Super Bowl LI. The NFL shouldn't worry about us forgetting, even if they don't like it.

Decline in ratings and kneeling

Last year, the biggest storyline in the NFL consisted of then 49ers quarterback, Colin Kapaernick, kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality perpetrated on the black community. Kap’s actions received universal acclaim and criticism.

In the process, #BoycottNFL started trending on social media.

Regardless of your political views or team support, you can't deny the negative effects. Boycotting the NFL had some effect on viewership. It wasn’t sufficient enough, however, to be the cause of the ratings decline. The partner in crime is the internet. Only the biggest fans, apart from attendants, have the patience, passion, and attention span to watch full games. Even then, a lot of them prefer to watch highlights on YouTube instead. Honestly, this season did have a lot of boring games. As fans, we want to be entertained and not every game is promised to be a spectacle. With the pinnacle of games only being one or two plays and nothing more, that is what draws people away from watching live games.

By the start of the next preseason, the poor ratings and kneeling will be a thing of the past. Well, at least that is what the NFL hopes.

The countless injuries

According to ESPN, over 200 players have been injured in some way, many of which were questionable. Within the haystack of injured players, a lot of them are key assets of their respective teams.

In the case of playoff contenders, plenty of players are missing. For the reigning champions, wide receiver Chris Hogan might not play due to a shoulder injury. Super Bowl runner-ups Atlanta Falcons ’ tight end, Levine Toilolo, might not play due to a knee injury. Those are big blows to the offense of last year’s top teams.

The Green Bay Packers lost star QB, Aaron Rodgers, in week six after he broke his collarbone, against the Minnesota Vikings. Rodgers did come back, only to lead his team into elimination. Odell Beckham Jr and Sterling Shepard were two offensive New York weapons lost to the injury list as well. Since then, the already mediocre Giants struggled even more.

Referees favoring the Patriots

According to angry fans, referees favor the Patriots. Some claim that refs are on the Pats’ payroll. These ludicrous conspiracies are laughable at best. The honest truth is that refs, in most sports, are notorious for making bad calls. Players are simply victims of bad rules that get enforced at the worst possible times.

Were the refs on the Patriots’ payroll during the Giants’ "Helmet Catch," Super Bowl XLII, or Jermaine Kearse’s catch for the Seattle Seahawks at Super Bowl XLIX? David Tyree used his helmet and Kearse used his legs. In that case, give the first Super Bowl victory to the Patriots and allow the Seahawks to do over the final play that was intercepted by Malcolm Butler. When the Bills faced the Patriots earlier this week, Bills’ Kelvin Benjamin had a potential touchdown overturned. To the naked eye, it looked like a good catch. After careful review, it was determined that the call was right. Referee Craig Wrolstad said the following, “It was clear and obvious that he (Benjamin) did not have control of the ball until be brought it all the way down into his chest.

We looked at the angle where we had a foot drag early before he had control and then we looked at when he had control and then we went back again to look at the feet. It was determined clearly that he was not able to get his second foot down after he had control before stepping out of bounds.” Craig’s explanation makes perfect sense, even more, when you look at it from an unbiased perspective.

If you think about it, what fans really want is to see the Patriots lose. If the Bills had faced a different team, no one would care.

Being called out by President Trump

In retaliation to the NFL players’ anthem protest, President Donald Trump did not hesitate in calling out the players. President Trump called the protests a “disgrace” and “blatantly disrespectful to veterans who fought for our flag and country”.

To top it off, the President said, to team owners, that football players disrespecting the flag should be “fired” and to “get that son of a b**** off the field”. Whether you want to believe it or not, the way President Trump perceives the NFL will affect the way his millions of supporters see the league. Fair enough.

Commissioner Roger Goodell’s response was, “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities”. Goodell’s comments did no favors for the league, as it continued to be an over glorified social justice platform that attracted casuals with no interest in the sport.

It only reinforced the fact that NFL players are privileged and overpaid ball carriers. It hurts to say that. As the season unfolds and the league heads into the playoffs and eventually Super Bowl LII, 2017 could be the season that fans frown upon. Hopefully, the playoffs end up being show-stealing events that erase memories of the regular season.