Poll: 56% of Americans Say they Have Watched the NFL this Season-- 31% Find Games Less Enjoyable with New Rules; 28% say Firing NFL Ref was 'Publicity Stunt'

Share Article

A national poll conducted by Seton Hall University's Sports Poll has found that 56% of Americans say they have watched the NFL this season, with 31% of those finding the game "less enjoyable"; only 11% found the game to be "more enjoyable" while 54% the found it the same. 24% of fans said they believe officiating has gotten worse this year, with only 11% saying it has improved. Also, this year the NFL fired a referee mid-season for "bad officiating" for the first time in 50 years: 40% (from the full sample) called that a positive move, with 28% calling it a PR stunt.

With the NFL having instituted a number of new safety rules this season, the football-loving public has weighed in, with 31% saying the game is less enjoyable, and only 11% saying it is more enjoyable. 54% say it has no effect.

Among men, 35% say it is less enjoyable, and among women, the number is 15%.

“It is noteworthy that men prefer the more violent game, as articulated by President Trump,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute.

Responses are based on the number of people (469) who have said that they have watched NFL games this season.

The poll was conducted October 29-31 among 839 adults across the country, on landlines and cellphones. Of the group that has watched the NFL this year, the sampling has a margin of error of +/- 4.6%.

The poll also asked the “watch NFL group” questions about officiating, and it found that 24% believe officiating has gotten worse, with only 11% saying it has improved. 54% said it remained the same.

Meanwhile, the NFL took the unusual step of firing an official after five games, the first time a ref was fired in mid-season in 50 years. 40% of fans (from the full sample) called that a positive move, with 28% calling it a PR stunt.

This release may be found online at [http://blogs.shu.edu/sportspoll/2018/11/02/31-of-fans-find-nfl-less-enjoyable-with-new-safety-rules-this-year/ __title__ ]

The Official Seton Hall Sports Poll podcast discussing this topic with Seth Everett and Rick Gentile can be found at [https://itunes.apple.com/mt/podcast/seton-hall-sports-poll/id1053266467 __title__ ].

About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone October 29-31 among adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute and sponsored by the University's Stillman School of Business. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.

Media: Media: Marty Appel, AppelPR@gmail.com;
Michael Ricciardelli, Associate Director of Media Relations, Seton Hall
michael.ricciardelli@shu.edu, 908-447-3034; 862-520-9639

The results:

    Have you watched any NFL games this season?

1 – Yes: 56%
2 – No: 43%
3 – Don’t know: 1%

(IF NO SKIP NEXT 2 QUESTIONS)

    The NFL has adopted several new rules designed to increase player safety, including leading with the helmet in making a tackle. Have the new rules made the game more enjoyable to watch, less enjoyable or have had no effect?

1 – More enjoyable: 11%
2 – Less enjoyable: 31%
3 – No effect: 54%
4 – Don’t know/No opinion: 4%

    Do you think officiating in the NFL this season has generally improved, gotten worse or remained the same?

1 – Improved: 11%
2 – Gotten worse: 24%
3 – Remained the same: 54%
4 – Don’t know/No opinion: 11%

    An NFL referee was fired after 5 games this season for bad performance – the first time a ref was fired in mid-season in 50 years. Do you think this is a positive move by the league or a PR stunt to answer criticism of general bad officiating?

1 – Positive move: 40%
2 – PR stunt: 28%
3 – Both: 5%
4 – Don’t know/No opinion: 27%

    How closely would you say you follow sports, very closely, closely, not closely or not at all?

1 – Very closely: 17%
2 – Closely: 29%
3 – Not closely: 37%
4 – Not at all: 16%

ABOUT SETON HALL UNIVERSITY

One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall has been showing the world what great minds can do since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 rigorous academic programs, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall embraces students of all religions and prepares them to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. In recent years, the University has achieved extraordinary success. Since 2009, it has seen record-breaking undergraduate enrollment growth and an impressive 110-point increase in the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen. In the past decade, Seton Hall students and alumni have received more than 30 Fulbright Scholarships as well as other prestigious academic honors, including Boren Awards, Pickering Fellowships, Udall Scholarships and a Rhodes Scholarship. The University is also proud to be the third most diverse national Catholic university in the nation.

During the past five years, the University has invested more than $165 million in new campus buildings and renovations. And in 2015, Seton Hall launched a School of Medicine as well as a College of Communication and the Arts. The University’s beautiful main campus in suburban South Orange, N.J. is only 14 miles from New York City — offering students a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. Seton Hall’s nationally recognized School of Law is located prominently in downtown Newark. The University’s Interprofessional Health Sciences (IHS) campus in Clifton and Nutley, N.J. opened in the summer of 2018. The IHS campus houses the University’s College of Nursing, School of Health and Medical Sciences and the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University.

For more information, visit http://www.shu.edu.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Michael Ricciardelli
Seton Hall University
+1 (862) 520-9639
Email >
Visit website