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Pro Bowl ratings explode

Joke about the Pro Bowl all you want — we did plenty last night — but this new format may be here to stay.

The overnight ratings for the Pro Bowl are in, and they are sky high.  ESPN got a 7.9 rating, 39% higher than last year’s game which had the advantage of being on NBC, which reaches more homes. 

ESPN had the advantage of playing the game in primetime, but the number is a coup for the network.  The rating was more than double what it was the last time the Pro Bowl was on ESPN.

No matter the reasons, Commissioner Roger Goodell can point to the ratings and attendance at last night’s game as proof that moving the game up a week was a success.  (Sure, the crowd often acted like they were at a funeral.  But nearly all the seats were full in the first quarter.  The fourth quarter, not so much.)

Goodell said Saturday that the league may keep the Pro Bowl on the Sunday before the Super Bowl next year in Hawaii.  After these ratings, we’d be surprised if it didn’t happen.

And with that, we will stop talking about the Pro Bowl for a long time.

UPDATE
: More fun with numbers.  It was the most-watched Pro Bowl in a decade.  12.3 million viewers tuned in.   

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61 Responses to “Pro Bowl ratings explode”
  1. mike_311 says: Feb 1, 2010 12:23 PM

    when was the probowl?

  2. AWestcave says: Feb 1, 2010 12:24 PM

    To be fair, it was in direct competition with The Grammys.

  3. severs28 says: Feb 1, 2010 12:25 PM

    I chose to not watch it solely because of fear for this exact scenario.

  4. tallermateo says: Feb 1, 2010 12:25 PM

    seems logical more off time for the league and players

  5. Ross'sSweetMinus says: Feb 1, 2010 12:26 PM

    This was the worst Football game i have ever seen. Talk about not playing. The Pro bowl is a joke! Good Job Gooddouche! Your turning this league into a pussy game. 10 years from now it will be a flag football league mark my words.

  6. bearsrule says: Feb 1, 2010 12:26 PM

    I can’t wait to hear Stuart Scott, Berman or some other moron at ESPN call it the greatest Pro Bowl ever.

  7. greenbayrocks567 says: Feb 1, 2010 12:27 PM

    Not only did it do well, it did well while going head to head against the Grammys. I like the Pro Bowl before the Super Bowl, after the Super Bowl it’s just completely anticlimactic.

  8. igor79 says: Feb 1, 2010 12:28 PM

    People might stick around in the fourth quarter if they actually played football. No one wants to watch a game where none of the players care. The NFL should fine people for giving up on sacks. I turned the game off at half.
    But in their defense, it was the first time I have watched the probowl in at least 5 years.

  9. cincyandrew says: Feb 1, 2010 12:29 PM

    couldreally care less about the probowl..

  10. HAILSKINS says: Feb 1, 2010 12:30 PM

    Its still a bullshit game with guys who do not deserve to get in getting in every year.

  11. IrichVike says: Feb 1, 2010 12:31 PM

    still have a long way to go though
    http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/01022010/58/champions-league-champions-league-final-tops-super-bowl.html

  12. ipeefreely says: Feb 1, 2010 12:31 PM

    No mention of Brett Favre and retirement?
    No mention of Tony Romo or the Dallas Cowboys?
    No famous prediction?
    Something is wrong…dangerously wrong.

  13. garretmustgo says: Feb 1, 2010 12:32 PM

    And still no one seems to care.. ratings dont change the fact this game is a joke, i still dont know why anyone showed up for this.. players and fans alike

  14. LighTsouT says: Feb 1, 2010 12:34 PM

    Sigh. I’m disappointed that I actually watched it because now it means it won’t be changed back to normal and year in and year out we’ll have QB’s like Peyton, Brady, Rivers, Brees, Tony Homo, Roethlisberger, etc in the PB because they’ll be in the Super Bowl. I mean, I never watched the PB the week AFTER the SB, but still. That’s where it belongs.

  15. CapsLockKey says: Feb 1, 2010 12:38 PM

    39% more of crap is still crap.

  16. We've had the goal since training camp says: Feb 1, 2010 12:41 PM

    It makes sense to keep it week before the Super Bowl.

  17. 4ever19 says: Feb 1, 2010 12:42 PM

    One wonders if these exploding ratings weren’t the result of all the talk about the total mess that was the Pro Bowl and next year, when we are ready for a repeat calamity, the ratings won’t be nearly as high because we all will have calmed down.

  18. DJSlyBri says: Feb 1, 2010 12:45 PM

    Clearly, the late addition of Tony Romo led the surge in ratings.

  19. Poo Flinging Monkey says: Feb 1, 2010 12:47 PM

    Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed watching the game. Clearly the players were just having a good time while trying not to get hurt.
    I watched it all, and I liked it.

  20. shaggeez says: Feb 1, 2010 12:50 PM

    it makes even more sense to cancel it altogether. how many times did de’s come clean to the qb and just stop and watch. i realize about not wanting to have people get injured but why bother to wear pads. just put some flags on

  21. THEpackersAREwhere? says: Feb 1, 2010 12:54 PM

    Im being complete serious when I saw this is the worst football news Ive heard in a long time. This was just a plain stupid idea. Nobody wanted to even play in this game. This is really bad news.

  22. lezmaka says: Feb 1, 2010 12:55 PM

    When Goodell said before the game that the Pro Bowl was already a success, he was just talking about media coverage and the number of tickets sold.
    Not anything like the fact that it couldn’t really be called a Pro Bowl when you don’t have any of the AFC QBs that were originally selected playing, and when you don’t have 14 Pro Bowlers not playing because they will be playing in the Super Bowl.
    They may try and say they made the changes for the fans, but it was really all about selling as many tickets as possible and getting as much media coverage as possible.
    When it goes back to Hawaii, you’ll still be missing players from the Super Bowl teams, you won’t sell out the stadium and you won’t have the media coverage.

  23. GobiasINC_1 says: Feb 1, 2010 12:57 PM

    I knew the ratings would be good. And that makes me smarter than each and every one of you. That goes double for you, Pervy.
    Vikings and fat McKinnie suck.

  24. We need linemen says: Feb 1, 2010 12:57 PM

    Started to watch it, knowing how much I would miss football during the off-season. Managed 5-minutes before the sheer awfulness of it convinced me to switch over.
    The only reason anyone watched before was because it was the last game for a long-time. The only reason people switched on last night is because they can’t wait for the Super Bowl. Retired players in a flag football tournament would have got huge viewing figures last night, and there might have been more contact.

  25. Champ Kind with Sports says: Feb 1, 2010 1:04 PM

    # CapsLockKey says: February 1, 2010 12:38 PM
    39% more of crap is still crap.
    _____
    Wow, so many opportunities to rip on the Pro Bowl, and this is what someone came up with?
    It is not 39% more Pro Bowl, doofus. It is 39% viewership.
    Viewership == Revenue.
    Revenue does not = crap.
    Therefore, your joke = FAIL

  26. KingJoe! says: Feb 1, 2010 1:04 PM

    Well if there was a bump, it won’t last. Anyone who watches a probowl, only watches it once.

  27. BigEasy says: Feb 1, 2010 1:04 PM

    1/2 of them weren’t even trying…C’mon man!
    Just designate people to an All-Star team….play a All-Star Challenege with players not in the Super Bowl and call it a day!

  28. filthymcnasty says: Feb 1, 2010 1:07 PM

    It beat watching the grammys or any of the inferior other sports on at the time, you whiny arse vags.
    Sure it was a shadow of a “meaningful” game but it beat all the other “contact” sports on the boob tube.
    @HAILSKINS
    As a fellow Redskins fan…Fletcher finally got in! Why don’t you pour yourself a nice, tall glass of stfu & stop whining?

  29. Hap says: Feb 1, 2010 1:08 PM

    What was that horrid music they were playing during intro’s ?
    Nobody played hard until the 4th qtr but it was a lil amusing. That was a lil more than before.
    At least they’re trying.

  30. schooney says: Feb 1, 2010 1:13 PM

    Now if the team ahead at 3 quarters had the option of playing against a Bikin clad women’s team the stands would be full the fourth quarter and might actully see some effort the first three

  31. Ollie says: Feb 1, 2010 1:16 PM

    What was it up against on a sunday night? There were so many good things to watch of my 325 cable channels of junk!

  32. mcarey032 says: Feb 1, 2010 1:20 PM

    Had no problem with the format now. I like the fact that there is something to watch before the Super Bowl. An exhibition game with some NFL stars is better than having to listen to pundits on every network over analyze the Super Bowl right down to where the Colts and Saints will stay in Miami.
    The Pro Bowl is not football, heck it isn’t even preseason football, but it is far better than listening to Chris Berman and all the other ESPN idiots talk about how great Peyton Manning is or that the Colts defense is better than people thought that it was. So what if Drew Brees or Peyton Manning didn’t play last night, they would rather be playing next week anyway and I am sure that they don’t necessarily miss playing the Pro Bowl. I like what they did. The game doesn’t matter, but I will watch it even for a little because it still means that there is a football season.n

  33. Bwa Ha Ha says: Feb 1, 2010 1:21 PM

    They should put up the lingerie bowl opposite the Pro Bowl.
    See who gets the numbers then.

  34. clavette says: Feb 1, 2010 1:27 PM

    i enjoyed watching about half of it, clicked back and forth between family guy at 9 tho. if you watch the pro bowl for an intense game that matters then theres something wrong with you.

  35. gopher says: Feb 1, 2010 1:28 PM

    The ratings were good and they had a sell out. I hope the suits in the NFL League office and the suits in the NFL Union office notice and understand the damage that could be done by having a lockout in 2011. I always have to remember that the people who decide these contracts are all lawyers, that tells us all something about why this will come down to the last minute.

  36. 8man says: Feb 1, 2010 1:40 PM

    Didn’t watch the game or the Grammy Awards. No interest in observing millionaire “artists” pat themselves on the back in primetime.
    However, I think having it before the Super Bowl is better.
    Thank God for the History Channel!

  37. moosev says: Feb 1, 2010 1:40 PM

    I guess the numbers don’t lie. I’ve played fantasy football for 17 years (Commish for 15 of them) and I had trouble figuring who and how some of these players made the team.

  38. chris465 says: Feb 1, 2010 1:41 PM

    The Dundies are more interesting than the Grammys.
    Didn’t watch the Grammys or The Replacements.

  39. nationscapital10 says: Feb 1, 2010 1:44 PM

    I watched, we had a group of friends come over and had a good time..The game sucked, but every so often we paid attention and the pre game was good and the players mic’d was great. Its not football your really watching, its just a celebration of football. It gave us something to do, rather than be with girlfriends or wives. Good job Roger, keep it in Hawaii and put it on TV week before.

  40. FinFan says: Feb 1, 2010 1:47 PM

    I suppose half the nation buried in a blanket of snow and freezing temperatures had nothing to do with those ratings?!

  41. dave says: Feb 1, 2010 1:48 PM

    goodell 1, the rest of you 0

  42. dunkingonuts says: Feb 1, 2010 1:52 PM

    I am glad they made the Pro Bowl even more meaningless..It gave me time to update my Facebook page.

  43. bigdan7885 says: Feb 1, 2010 1:54 PM

    Excuse me but do the words “Royal Rumble” mean nothing to you?

  44. ClownBurger says: Feb 1, 2010 1:54 PM

    The NFL Season should end with the Super Bowl.
    I like the pro bowl being the week before the Super Bowl. It’s nice to have some kind of football option the Sunday before the Super Bowl.
    Personally, I think they should continue to have it in the same stadium as where the Super Bowl is being held, rather than Hawaii. Helps to add to the atmosphere of the event.
    With ratings like that, it’s going to stay where it is, which is good.
    Hey, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it. At least we have a football option on what used to be a cold frozen football Sunday the week before the biggest game of the year. There was always something depressing about that.
    GOOD MOVE!

  45. sdffa11 says: Feb 1, 2010 1:54 PM

    i watched because i was bored, not because i wanted to watch it. they need to move the pro bowl after the super bowl so players from super bowl teams can participate.

  46. coxypoo says: Feb 1, 2010 2:03 PM

    This website draws some of the angriest human beings alive. What the hell is wrong with u people on a daily basis? I continue to se the same names on here. Get a job, or one that matters enough to keep u from being so bitter. It’s an all star game, who cares if it stinks. Take it for what it is and stop hating the world just because ur lives suck.

  47. Johnnyb612 says: Feb 1, 2010 2:03 PM

    I’m more ok with this than I am with what they did to the draft. The best thing about the draft was the fact that you could go over to one of your friends houses, eat a bunch of food, and get totally wasted and not have to go to work the next day. Now we have to deal with this thing on a Thursday night?! What a bunch of crap. Now we’ll have to wait till the weekend to even talk about who we picked up in the first round! I really hope this new format fails. As far as the pro bowl goes, I could care less.

  48. hutch says: Feb 1, 2010 2:04 PM

    I think it was a great move. I have never bothered to watch the Pro Bowl before last night. Football ends for me after the Superbowl. While it wasn’t a ‘real’ game, it was a nice diversion for the off weekend before the big game.
    Just put it back in Hawaii so more players will attend. I don’t care about the Superbowl squads because they tended to opt out of going anyway.

  49. scrapdawg12 says: Feb 1, 2010 2:06 PM

    If the grammy’s would not have been on, rating would have been higher. I think the game needs to get rid of rules. Allow blitzing and some schemes to be run. It’s boring, just like any other game. Also, keep the game on the mainlands. Travel with the game. Players might want to go to Hawaii but the general public can’t afford too.

  50. swervinmervin says: Feb 1, 2010 2:17 PM

    They went to a commercial break as guys names were being mentioned as they came onto the field. We only saw the starters.
    They should treat it like the NBA and MLB all-star games and allow the fans to see and hear ALL of the players get named.
    I thought that was a stupid time to take a commercial break.

  51. Rickah99 says: Feb 1, 2010 2:22 PM

    It’s like what they used to say about Howard Stern: Even the people who don’t like him will listen, just to see what he says next!
    Folks, the Pro Bowl has been a devolving joke for several years now.
    The other sports all have their respective “All-Star” games at mid-season(MLB, NHL, NBA, even NASCAR). Put the Pro-Bowl after week #8 and let the winning conference host the Super Bowl…oh yeah, the Super Bowl will be played ANYWHERE in the country. IT’S FOOTBALL…so what if it’s: cold, snowy, or ice…that adds to the game. Make the Pro-Bowl actually COUNT towards something!! Start including more Pro-Bowl related incentives in players contracts!
    #1 Excuse: Injury….sorry, it’s football. Deal with it!
    #2 Excuse: Money…last time I checked the NFL was pretty profitable!
    #3 Excuse: Players refusing to play…that’s fine let down, possibly, your team and your conference!
    #4 Excuse: No Aloha Stadium….you’ve enjoyed it this long, time to share the wealth.
    #5 Excuse: Who Coaches….previous season’s Super Bowl teams(TEAMS, if a coach leaves/retires the replacement gets a Pro Bowl bonus)
    Last night’s game was a glorified flag football game(Asante Samuel was in his element). I think most people watched just to see how bad it was going to be, or hear how the “no shows” would be handled/announced. So, please, Mr. Goodell stop trying to squash “Who Dat” T-shirt dealers trying to make a buck, and figure how to fix this BIG flaw in the NFL.

  52. 2000TJ says: Feb 1, 2010 2:27 PM

    Why are you guys complaining? Don’t expect real football from the PB. It is a celebration of the season why some of the leagues best and most notable players. It is modestly entertaining and helped my insatiable appetite for football. They should put more entertainment in during half time like a qb throwing contest, or punting/kicking contests. Maybe they could make it more interactive like have fans call in plays or something.
    I did like how you could hear the plays and players. Gives a little insight.

  53. leatherneck says: Feb 1, 2010 2:53 PM

    Hawaii’s only chance for another Pro Bowl now is to build a Super Bowl-quality stadium, and then host the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl.

  54. GB3Pack4 says: Feb 1, 2010 3:02 PM

    Doesn’t make sense to me. Why would the ratings be high when so many of the first tier players selected, weren’t there? Are you seriously saying that people don’t even care about who’s playing? From my viewpoint, that’s the ONLY reason to watch, seeing so many fine players on the field at the same time.

  55. TrentDilferisaDouche says: Feb 1, 2010 3:03 PM

    @gobiasINC_1
    Your comments are quite intellectual and thought provoking.
    Go back to your hole.

  56. CurseofBoJackson says: Feb 1, 2010 3:07 PM

    Turned it off after Mario Williams had a free shot on Rodgers and just jogged off to the side and let him complete a pass. That’s not football. Further, I am not asking Mario to blind side him like they were playing in a playoff game, but put a hand on him, push him down, grab him and gently lay him down, ANYTHING besides NOTHING. Silly.

  57. Tim says: Feb 1, 2010 3:42 PM

    So much hate for the pro bowl!
    If you don’t like the pro bowl, don’t watch it. Its like MTV’s Jersey Shore, you know what you’re tuning in to, if that’s not your cup o tea, don’t set your DVR.
    I watched the entire game, I thought it was fun. It wasn’t Saints/Vikings or Packers/Cardinals, but I knew that going in and didn’t expect it. I enjoyed a few things:
    1. Ray Lewis miked up, hearing him call out the defense and tip them to the upcoming plays right up to the snap was a rare insight into the game. I wished there was even more of that. There was one play where you could hear him tell Lamar Woodley (i think) to play Gates ‘outside in’ and Lamar wasn’t able to and guess what, the pass went to Gates on the outside. Makes you appreciate how good these guys are at their positions.
    2. Watching Desean Jackson hit his 5th, 6th, and 7th gear on a 50+ td catch and run. Dropped my jaw.
    3. Seeing Vincent Jackson earhole Clay Mathews and immediately feel bad for doing so, that was pretty funny.
    4. Hearing Gruden tool on Jaws about how McNaab owns all the passing records in Philly now except the interception record. Too funny!
    The Pro Bowl felt like an appetizer this year, which I think is perfect. I would have rather seen Brady play than Vince Young, but that’s just me. I echo some of the improvements others have mentioned, like more skills competitions involving not only players named to the pro bowl but other talented guys. 40 yard dashes, QB challanges etc.
    For all those so bent out of shape about it, relax, it’ll all be over soon!
    p.s. florio, pleeeease stop whining about OT, if a team can’t win in regulation, their fate should rest in the hands of a coin flip (at least 65% of the time of course).

  58. CapsLockKey says: Feb 1, 2010 6:51 PM

    “Wow, so many opportunities to rip on the Pro Bowl, and this is what someone came up with?
    It is not 39% more Pro Bowl, doofus. It is 39% viewership.
    Viewership == Revenue.
    Revenue does not = crap.
    Therefore, your joke = FAIL”
    Um, I was refering to the ratings. The pro-bowl has always got crap ratings. So apparently you are the doofus.

  59. Deb says: Feb 1, 2010 7:33 PM

    Omigosh, just spotted this on the most-commented list. Who knew? A 39-percent increase in viewership over last year? Guess I was wrong about Goodell making the game less relevant than usual.
    Funny, it’s the first time in years I didn’t watch or record the Pro Bowl–except for a half hour from 8:30-9. At that point, my DVR could only handle two things at once and I went for the Grammys and, um, well, um … Desperate Housewives. I know, I know. If it had been a real game, I’d have watched the game. Oh well, next year.

  60. Tomthebombtracy says: Feb 1, 2010 7:58 PM

    Since it’s George Washington’s birthday month, I cannot tell a lie.
    I watched it…..and enjoyed it. I think the use of the SB players not palying was good and I liked hearing about the up and coming players. I have to tell you I used to forget about the Pro Bowl after the Super Bowl because the SB meant closure.
    I liked hearing Matt Schaub talk. I didn’t know him before.
    I have done a 180.

  61. Adam-Chris Scheftersen says: Feb 2, 2010 11:21 AM

    Wasn’t last year’s game also going head-to-head with Lakers-Celtics? Or was it Lakers-Cavs? I think I spent more time watching the basketball than the Pro Bowl. And this year I didn’t watch any of the Pro Bowl.

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