Thursday Night Football ratings appear immune to boycotts from protest fallout

Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

Fans seem to be having a hard time staying angry with the NFL.

Just one week after peaceful protests by players during the pregame national anthem spurred cries for boycotts of games and a reported dip of nearly 600,000 average television viewers from Week 3, Week 5's sleep-inducing Thursday-nighter between the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers saw a spike in viewership over the same time-slot last season, according to Frank Schwab of Yahoo!

CBS reports that in combination with NFL Network, it saw a score increase of 26 percent from last season. The Patriots' 19-14 win over the Buccaneers earned an overnight rating share of 11.1/19, up from last year's Week 5 game between the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers which earned an 8.8/15 rating.

It's certainly possible the Super Bowl champions were the cause for the boost over a game featuring two teams nearly out of playoff contention by Week 5 of last season, but it still managed to make fans forget how angry they were about teams kneeling or linking arms just two weeks before.

Either way, the NFL will use their figures of the safe bottom line to veto cries from players to scrap the extra primetime contest.