The ratings are up, and the NFL is back, baby!

News of the demise of the NFL were apparently premature, despite the claims that the protests for racial equality and the ongoing evidence of a link to brain injuries would bring it down.

The ratings are up a third of the way into this season, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. It’s the first time that’s happened since 2015.

Nielsen says the broadcast popularity of the NFL is up 3 percent over a year ago, and the top 15 shows for all of September were football games.

“These were conversations that were polarizing around the sport. Now we’re talking around the sport,” said Troy Vincent, the NFL’s director of operations.

CBS’ sports boss says even with the negatives of the NFL, the real life still looks worse, so football provides a relief, warts and all.

“I do think there is so much unpleasantness out there today and so much divisiveness between different groups that the refuge of NFL football is probably more appealing now than it’s been in a long time,” Sean McManus said.

Curiously, the demographic that has increased the most, is also the demographic that has been most upset about the players’ protests for racial equity in America.