NFL broadcast networks distinguished a TV viewership dip by an average of 8 percent this season. The league data reportedly indicated that 1.4 million viewers were watching games this year, compared to 16.5 million viewers who watched its events in 2016 versus those 17.9 million viewers in 2015.

The ratings for ESPN, which broadcast Monday Night Football (17 games), have dropped 12 percent, while ratings for NBC, which broadcast Sunday Night Football (19 games, including two Thursdays), dropped 10 percent.

The total viewership for NFL's 27 afternoon games on Fox and CBS fell 6 and 7 percent, respectively. However, the league did not incorporate Thursday Night Football for the data comparison.

The effects of 2016 presidential election on NFL ratings

League executives acknowledged that the 2016 presidential election, which took place on Nov. 8, played a contributing role in the decline of the NFL viewership. Before the election, the ratings for NFL games in Week 1-9 declined 14 percent compared to the previous year.

Eventually, the NFL revived from a 14 percent dip, as the ratings for games in Week 10-17 fell only 1 percent.

"Presidential elections have always had an impact on our ratings, so we were prepared for a dip this season," NFL's executive vice president of media Brain Rolapp said in an interview with USA TODAY Sports via email Wednesday. "We're pleased at how our viewership rebounded after the election and are looking forward to what should be a very competitive and exciting postseason."

It was not the first time the league has faced the effects of presidential election on the NFL ratings.

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This year, the ratings for NFL broadcast networks saw an 11 percent dip. During the election of George Bush in 2000, ratings were down 10 percent, while it fell just 6 percent during the election of Bill Clinton in 1996.

Cowboys and Redskins on Thanksgiving game day recover the ratings of NFL broadcast network

The Dallas Cowboys' match-up against the NFC East rival Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving game day helped the ratings of the NFL broadcast network (Fox) accordingly. The news outlet declared in November 2016 that the match-up between the Cowboys and Redskins on a national holiday drew 35.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched regular season game ever.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL has innovative ways to engage fans on a variety of platforms. Goodell has proposed some ideas of how the league can draw consumers as well as viewers. The NFL partnered with broadcasters to change the pace of the game experience, and reduce commercial interruptions for viewers.

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