After lousy regular season, NFL's TV ratings worsen in wild-card playoffs For anyone thinking fan interest would pick up for the start of the NFL playoffs, you are mistaken. The league's worrying TV ratings slid even further during wild-card weekend. Overnight ratings for the league's four Saturday-Sunday wild-card playoff matchups collectively fell 11.5 percent compared with the same period last year. That's worse than the 9.7 percent ratings drop for the recently completed 2017 regular season. The wild-card games were marred by lousy quarterback play (Jaguars-Bills) and bad officiating (Titans-Chiefs). The results weren't pretty, according to the overnight Nielsen ratings compiled by Austin Karp of SportsBusiness Daily. All four games suffered double-digit ratings drops. The details: — Saints vs. Panthers (Fox Sports): Down 15 percent from last year's comparable Giants-Packers telecast. — Titans vs. Chiefs (ESPN/ABC): Down 11 percent from last year's Texans-Raiders. — Falcons vs. Rams (NBC Sports): Down 10 percent from last year's Seahawks-Lions. — Jaguars vs. Bills (CBS Sports): Down 10 percent from last year's Steelers-Dolphins. There are a number of factors likely driving the downturn for the country's most popular sport. The #BoycottNFL fans are offended that some players protested during the national anthem, so much so that those fans have chose to not watch telecasts, not show up at stadiums and not buy NFL merchandise. There are also over 200,000 fans who have signed a #NoKaepernickNoNFL petition, vowing to boycott games until a team hires unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick. I wonder how many of the Kaepernuts are ticket holders. Moreover, cord-cutting younger consumers are increasingly watching games via illegal pirated streams vs. broadcast or cable TV. And four teams with big national followings — the Cowboys, Giants, Packers and Raiders — are watching these playoffs from the sidelines. The Steelers and Patriots are the last two teams in the playoffs with true national fan followings. If they don't deliver in this weekend's divisional round games, the NFL and its TV partners will have even more reason for concern.