- The Washington Times
Monday, December 2, 2019

If the conversation and excitement from last year around Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes feels long forgotten, it would be understandable. That’s because this year, people can’t get enough of Lamar Jackson.

And that includes football fans inside and around the District.

The Washington Redskins may have won back-to-back games for the first time in 2019, but they lost Sunday in another area that would have been hard to fathom years ago. They were outdrawn locally on television, by the Baltimore Ravens no less.

Sunday’s marquee matchup between the Ravens and San Francisco 49ers drew higher ratings in the D.C. market than the Redskins’ win over the Carolina Panthers. That includes surrounding areas like Hagerstown, Maryland, and parts of northern Virginia.

According to NBC Sports Washington, the Ravens posted a 12.5 rating compared to the Redskins’ 11.7.

The two games went head-to-head on Sunday as each had a 1 p.m. kickoff. The Redskins, too, saw a major surge in their ratings after the Ravens’ game ended. Washington had averaged a 10.3 rating until 4 p.m. but the number climbed to an 11.7 by the time the game concluded around 4:37 p.m.

Among the key demographic for advertisers, the Ravens outdrew the Redskins with a 9.5 rating to Washington’s 5.3, NBC Sports Washington reported.

In some ways, the numbers shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Ravens have electrified this season — jumping out to a 10-2 record behind their dynamic quarterback. The 22-year-old Jackson has taken a tremendous step forward in his second year, dominating games with his speed and dazzling with his arm strength. Jackson not only leads the league among fan voting for the Pro Bowl, but he has emerged as the MVP front runner.

The Redskins, meanwhile, have experienced a horrific season, only picking up their third win of the year on Sunday. Why watch Dwayne Haskins when you can watch Lamar Jackson?

The rating is a harsh reminder of how far the Redskins have fallen with District-area fans. At FedEx Field, swaths of empty seats stick out, as do a large number of fans wearing jerseys of the opposing teams. Though the team’s reported paid attendance is up compared to 2018, four of the five least-attended Redskins games at FedEx have come in the last two years. Two of those — Nov. 17 against the Jets (56,426), Nov. 24 (57,754) — were in 2019.

Television interest, too, has declined. The Washington Post reported last year that the team’s ratings on Fox were down 10 percent from 2017, with Washington posting a 17.7 rating locally. It’s an even starker fall from 2012, when the Redskins drew a 25.9 rating during Robert Griffin III’s rookie season.

Back then, Griffin looked like the answer to Redskins fans’ prayers. He seemed revolutionary as Washington incorporated schemes to take advantage of his elusive speed and his cannon of an arm.

Today, the Ravens are trying to do something similar with Jackson. And the Redskins’ former savior, Griffin? He’s the backup in Baltimore.

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