Dolphins-Chargers was lowest rated Sunday night Week 14 NFL game since Washington-Baltimore in 2008, in part because Miami-Ft. Lauderdale and Los Angeles produce among the worst ratings in the country for their own NFL teams. Underwhelming 11.7 on NBC 6 down here.
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) December 13, 2022
The Chargers defeated the Dolphins 23-17 to remain in the conversation for the postseason with a 7-6 record. The Dolphins fell to 8-5 on the year, dropping their second consecutive game.
Barry Jackson’s tweet offers some insight into why the ratings for this particular game were low. However, there may have been other factors at play.
In looking at how the game unfolded, the fact that neither team scored in the first quarter may have caused casual viewers to look at the array of other choices available. Action then picked up in the second quarter with 24 total points, but just one touchdown was scored after the halftime break.
The popularity of the Dolphins might be called into question by some after this news. Yet, it was less than two months ago that the Dolphins’ home game on Oct. 23 against the Pittsburgh Steelers delivered solid ratings.
Dolphins-Steelers on NBC drew 16.5 million viewers nationally, making it the most watched of the Dolphins' past 15 prime time games. .. Sunday's Dolphins-Lions goes to 12 percent of country, with CBS No. 5 team Andrew Catalon, James Lofton on the call. Will tweet maps tomorrow.
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) October 25, 2022
In that clash, the Dolphins defeated the Steelers 16-10, with each team only scoring one touchdown.
The return of Tua Tagovailoa as Miami’s starting quarterback was a major storyline in that Steelers matchup. After getting knocked out of the Dolphins’ Sept. 29 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tagovailoa sat out the next two contests amid heavy criticism of the Dolphins’ handling of the quarterback’s health.
It’s likely that NBC and its advertisers are the only ones who have a deep concern about the ratings for the Dolphins-Chargers game. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel and his team are more focused on their pivotal matchup this coming Saturday against the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills are currently two games ahead of the Dolphins in the AFC East. However, winning on Saturday and then picking up another game on Buffalo before the end of the regular season would give the Dolphins the tiebreaker for the division title.