NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wasn't interested in making excuses on Wednesday as he addressed the league's dip in the television ratings over the first few weeks of the 2016 season.
"It's something that I don't think there's a single reason for," Goodell said at the fall owners' meeting in Houston. "I really don't. We look at all those factors. Everyone's got theories, you guys got theories, others got theories. We work closely with our network partners. We see tremendous strength in our numbers.
"But we also know that the primetime ratings we're seeing the most dramatic decrease. It went straight up against two very significant debates. Another one of our primetime games on Thursday night was on the NFL Network, as opposed to a (broadcast) network, which will always get a lower rating. There are a lot of factors to be considered.
"We don't make excuses, we look at it and we try and figure out what's changing."
Goodell noted that the way people consume their media has played a role, and he contends that he's being more proactive in that regard.
"It's why we've been doing more with Snapchat and YouTube and others. And it's why we did our work with Yahoo last year. ... We're seeing these changes," he said.
"We recognize that network television is still dominant, and we believe it's going to be dominant going forward. It's where the vast majority of our fans view our games. ... The advertising markets are incredibly strong. I think our ratings are something that we'll continue to look at and trying to make sure we're doing everything, not just to get them to tune in but to get them to stay tuned in. That's the issue, that's what we've worked on."
When asked if the national anthem protest is turning people off and was reflected in the ratings, Goodell was concise with his answer.
"We don't think that's a factor and neither do our network partners," Goodell said.
Goodell was on the defensive when questions circled around celebrations and taunting, which has come under fire for perceived inconsistencies throughout the regular season.
"I don't think there's been a year where we don't look at this issue," he said. "... We do believe that our players are role models and others look at that at the youth level, so that's important for us to hold that standard up and it's part of being a professional."
Goodell noted that the Las Vegas Raiders' presentation was "informative," but more information needs to be gathered.
Goodell also said that he'd prefer for the Raiders to stay in Oakland, "but we've been clear the last couple of years that it requires long-term resolution to their stadium. We still don't have that solution."