Jan 17, 5:39 PM EST

Viewership for football's divisional round of playoffs is down 16 percent from last year's games, offering ammunition to critics of the NFL

NEW YORK (AP) -- Critics of the National Football League have some new ammunition, with viewership of its four divisional round playoff games down 16 percent from last year. But there are a couple of compelling explanations.

The Nielsen company said the weekend's games averaged 30.43 million viewers. Last year's comparable games averaged 36.22 million.

The NFL has received some blowback from President Donald Trump and his supporters for protests involving the National Anthem, with some suggesting that had something to do with the audience being smaller for games this season.

But last year had a game between popular rivals Green Bay and Dallas that drew more than 48 million, far more than any divisional round game this year. Two of last year's games were also in prime time, compared to one this year.

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