New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady fakes a hand off during an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, in Cleveland. New England won 33-13. (David Richard/AP)
Football, America’s biggest prime-time powerhouse, has been thrust into a crisis this fall, with dwindling ratings sparking questions over whether it can remain a gold mine for television in an age when more Americans are abandoning traditional TV.
Network executives have long used the National Football League’s live games as a last line of defense against the rapid growth of “cord-cutting” and on-demand viewing upending the industry.