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NFL fans can’t get enough thrilling Pro Bowl action

It doesn’t matter that this year’s Pro Bowl was an even bigger dud than usual.  It didn’t matter that the NFC led 42-0 late in the second quarter.

NFL fans need to feed our addiction, and we’ll take whatever we can get.

Sunday’s Pro Bowl got an 8.6 overnight rating, which was an 8% increase from last year’s suddenly boffo ratings.   It was the most-watched Pro Bowl since 1997 with 13.4 million viewers, the most-watched show on television Sunday, and the most watched all-star game in any sport since 2009.

To put it another way: The Pro Bowl nearly gets the same ratings as some BCS games or World Series matchups.

To put it yet another way: The Pro Bowl should stay before the Super Bowl indefinitely, whether it’s in Hawaii or not.

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42 Responses to “NFL fans can’t get enough thrilling Pro Bowl action”
  1. mattsffrd says: Jan 31, 2011 2:28 PM

    i really don’t get the hate for the Pro Bowl. people just need to take it for what it is…the most talented guys in the sport just having some fun and being rewarded for playing a great season. if you don’t like it, don’t watch it. we do need to bring the skills competitions back though, those are a lot of fun to watch.

  2. Mike Tomlin says: Jan 31, 2011 2:29 PM

    This news will not affect us or our team moving forward, as a standard is a standard and our standard is to play in the Super Bowl every year.

  3. righthereisay says: Jan 31, 2011 2:33 PM

    I hated watching every second of it. But yes, it was a good reason to make an excuse to my wife why I need a 6 pack.

    For it to get the same ratings as the World Series or the BCS Game really shows how the NFL owns America.

  4. jbl429 says: Jan 31, 2011 2:34 PM

    Wow, that’s sad that so many people watched it.

    I think the NFL got it right having it before the super bowl. As soon as the super bowl ends, people assume football is over and they don’t even realize there is a pro bowl. The week before, people are itching for some entertainment, since it’s the first time since mid-August that there’s been no pro football on TV.

  5. nwstreethawk says: Jan 31, 2011 2:38 PM

    I would watch the Superbowl in the past when 1) I remembered it was on and 2) I wasn’t busy on a Saturday afternoon. In other words, very rarely.

    Now it fills the football gap between the Conference Championships and the Superbowl. It is a reward for the players but brings together in one place everyone that performed ‘above and beyond’ during the season.

    Does the audience really care that the players aren’t going 100%? Not really. It’s basically a weekend flag football pickup game but with stellar talent getting to kick back and enjoy the sport with their colleagues.

    Who cares that it has no real value other than entertainment?!

  6. mightymightylafootball says: Jan 31, 2011 2:39 PM

    And how much better would the rating be if it was, you know, not a giant turd of a game?

    The argument isn’t that “it isn’t popular” – it’s football, people are gonna watch it. The argument is “it’s bad”.

    Don’t confuse one for the other…

  7. thejabronisayz says: Jan 31, 2011 2:40 PM

    This just goes to show what I’ve thought all along: it DOESN’T MATTER that the Pro Bowl is often not a “competitive” game. People often cite the fact that the winning team makes an extra $20,000 or so, which somehow gives the players an incentive to play hard. News flash: it doesn’t. That’s peanuts to the guys in the Pro Bowl. They don’t care about the money (in this scenario anyway). All they care about is quite frankly having fun and getting out of there unscathed.

    I always watch the Pro Bowl not because i’m looking for a hard hitting, smash mouth, defensive struggle, but because it’s supposed to be entertaining in a different sort of way than a regular season matchup is. It’s fun to watch all of the stars together on one field, to watch Philip Rivers throw to the Broncos’ star wide receiver. And come on, who wasn’t laughing and entertained in some respects when the Browns’ center scored?

    Face it, the Pro Bowl will never, ever, EVER be a “good” game regarding the mechanics of football. But it is always fun to watch. If you don’t want to sit through a noncompetitive game, then just don’t watch it and don’t complain about it. But apparently more people watch it than you think.

  8. mariner85 says: Jan 31, 2011 2:40 PM

    the probowl is a joke. it’s not even real football and no one is trying. what we should do is have some sort of “olympics” or “skills challenge” that they all have to compete in and the two conferences compete against each other.

  9. scerpico22 says: Jan 31, 2011 2:45 PM

    Wow! Talk about perspective…

    The NFL puts is crappiest piece of work together (aside from airing the combine) and they get that kind of rating???

    All sports in the USA kneel at the thrown of the NFL.

  10. blackglass3 says: Jan 31, 2011 2:49 PM

    As long as it is before the Super Bowl, I am ok watching it. However, the second the Super Bowl ends, me and most other football fans switch into Combine/Draft/Next Year Mode. Watching the Pro Bowl after the Super Bowl is supremely boring.

  11. mitnavnmark says: Jan 31, 2011 2:52 PM

    It can’t really surprise anyone that the ratings continue to grow…I mean it’s a know fact that the NFL wants to be more global, and this is a simple reaction to this: Larger audience = more viewers :)

  12. S says: Jan 31, 2011 2:54 PM

    The day I watch a pro bowl is the day I’m tied down to the sofa with the remote out of reach.

  13. thelonious says: Jan 31, 2011 2:54 PM

    Well, one of the big Sunday night viewing options was the SAG awards…a bunch of talentless, overdressed hacks handing out trophies based on voting for one another. The self-induced backslapping was highlighted by the same movies, TV shows and “performers” getting awards that got them last month and that will probably get them next month.

    The choice between that and bad football? Easy.

  14. profootballwalk says: Jan 31, 2011 2:54 PM

    Isn’t this the say guy who just got finished writing the following headline?

    “Even the NFL can’t avoid recognizing the Pro Bowl is a dud”

    So the ‘dud’ in one post is the highest rated show in the next? That’s why we trust sports writers to give us their professional opinions.

  15. baseballstars says: Jan 31, 2011 2:56 PM

    The only way the Pro Bowl will ever be entertaining is if you turn it into Mutant League Football, or make the players play to death.

  16. laxer37 says: Jan 31, 2011 3:00 PM

    @nwstreethawk is all over it.

    I could never undertand fans and media types that get so worked up over the Pro Bowl.

    It’s a glorified scrimmage. Life is about choices, lower your expectations a bit or choose to watch something else.

  17. atlien698 says: Jan 31, 2011 3:01 PM

    Don’t let Goddell catch wind of fans not liking the Pro Bowl. He’ll then claim that we want a 19-game schedule.

  18. raiders4life says: Jan 31, 2011 3:06 PM

    Who was the MVP?

  19. Deb says: Jan 31, 2011 3:07 PM

    Just out of curiosity, I’d like to know which BCS games. That said, if it’s NFL action, I’ll watch it no matter how sorry a game it is.

  20. jamesneuf says: Jan 31, 2011 3:15 PM

    This number probably doesn’t include the number of people who had the game on in the background but paid little to no attention to it or those who turned it off when the NFC was ahead 28-0.

  21. thingamajig says: Jan 31, 2011 3:23 PM

    I knew it was on but didn’t watch. I watched a few around 20 years ago and that was enough.

  22. juancorsair says: Jan 31, 2011 3:26 PM

    Lat night was the first Pro Bowl I watched in as long as I can remember. I turned it on part way through the second quarter and saw the NFC was winning 42-0. “What an awsome game,” I thought as I channel surfed desperately trying to find something more interesting on.

    Guess what? There wasn’t anything (little wonder why their overnight ratings were so high).

    Unfortunately, the game was so freaking boring I shut the TV off before the end of third and went to bed. The lack of enthusiasm was literally putting me to sleep as it was.

    I’m not bitching about the Pro Bowl, I just don’t see any value in it. It was boring and lacked ALL of the things I enjoy about the NFL as a whole. And if Goodell has his way, all 18 games of the new regular season will be just as lacklustre. What a wonderful thought.

  23. juancorsair says: Jan 31, 2011 3:27 PM

    raiders4life says:

    Who was the MVP?

    Who cares?

  24. mvp43 says: Jan 31, 2011 3:50 PM

    I’m sure this makes NHL commissioner real happy!…………….not

  25. lhaveprettyfeet says: Jan 31, 2011 3:59 PM

    If Deangelo Hall is the MVP of the “All-Star game” then there is something wrong with the game.

  26. rcali says: Jan 31, 2011 4:08 PM

    So is this more of a statement about how bad the shows on other channels were or are?

  27. paredskinwarrior says: Jan 31, 2011 4:16 PM

    fox did a great job with it tho it wasn’t that bad of a game! I WOULD RATHER WATCH THE PRO BOWL THEN WATCH BASEBALL ANYDAY! They should bring back the player challenges!

  28. Nevis says: Jan 31, 2011 4:17 PM

    Haven’t watched the Pro Bowl since I was a kid, and don’t ever plan to again.

    Football just isn’t football without something to play for, especially when the foot is off the gas pedal.

    I’d rather watch the Bills play the Lions.

  29. roceagles says: Jan 31, 2011 4:21 PM

    Anyone who watched the Pro Bowl is one step below the mouth breathers and booger eaters who watch “professional” wrestling on the evolutionary chain.

  30. vadog says: Jan 31, 2011 4:22 PM

    How about truth in advertising? Change the event to the “Pro Bowl Exhibition.” Just don’t call it a “game,” as it is something much less than a football game.

  31. crashkobra says: Jan 31, 2011 4:24 PM

    Instead of that lame HOF pre-season game that they play, why dont they play the Pro-bowl right before the next season starts. That gives the players time to rest and by than football fans will be starved of football and be willing to watch anything. Also have a skills competition (like hockey does or baseball’s home-run derby). I would love to see the fastest players race or who can throw the furthest/hardest.

  32. rrrobertson says: Jan 31, 2011 4:27 PM

    wow! really?? Well I guess there are a lot more people that enjoy these all-star type games than I thought.

  33. deadeye says: Jan 31, 2011 4:37 PM

    The Pro Bowl is a steaming pile. And for all who say “then just don’t watch it”, I haven’t watched a single minute of that lame event since the 80s.

    It should go away, forever.

  34. frostymugobeer says: Jan 31, 2011 5:11 PM

    the probowl is the greatest sporting event in the history of mankind !
    all the best players in one GAME ?………..
    AND the goo goo dolls ? it’s a no brainer YEAH !

  35. laeaglefan says: Jan 31, 2011 5:18 PM

    The way the Pro Bowl is played is EXACTLY what Roger Goodell is trying to turn the NFL into permanently. You won’t see any fines for dirty hits in the Pro Bowl. No sir. Of course, you won’t see much hitting….period! The defensive players make a half hearted attempt at any kind of tackling and even the running backs and receivers seem to be playing at half speed. It looked like they dropped to the ground as soon as a defender even started to touch them. I think the epitomy of what I’m talking about was watching Devin Hester field a kickoff in the end zone, make a half hearted flip to another player (who obviously either wasn’t expecting it or didn’t want it), resulting in a fumble which was picked up by the AFC and run in for a touchdown. Hester then kind of jogged off the field and gave an “Oh well” kind of look and a shrug to the coach, who didn’t seem terribly upset about it either.

    In summary, watching this game at all was a joke and was almost impossible for any real football fan to sit through the whole thing. Even the announcers were out of sync. One time one of the announcers kept talking after the timeout commercial started and the other announcer had to remind him that they had gone to break (LOL)

  36. proeguy says: Jan 31, 2011 5:59 PM

    The NFL should go back to what they did in the 70s where the two Super Bowl teams would have a competition on the beach. Tug of war, outrigger canoe race, strong man stuff, etc.

    So maybe it would be the NFC and AFC Championship losing teams that battle it out. Or maybe just NFC vs AFC. Either way, find a way to build some Pro/BOWL week activities fans can attend and people would tune into.

    Just my $.02

  37. theonlyreasonableperson says: Jan 31, 2011 6:13 PM

    If you want the probowl to “mean” anything. Why not make it so that the winning conference gets all their non-conference games as home games? i.e. NFC just won, so no NFC team would play an away game against an AFC team next year except pre-season, or the superbowl.

    It would give them all a reason to actually ‘play’. The only reason this would be bad, is that you end up having teams with basically no talent not having to put any blood into the game, since their players won’t get selected to go.

    Something about having a venue advantage would be good since that’s what the reward is for the mlb all star game. Obviously it would skew the winning conferences win/loss records for the year, but that’s about it.

  38. contract says: Jan 31, 2011 6:15 PM

    I haven’t watched a minute of a Pro Bowl in at least a decade.

  39. raynman49 says: Jan 31, 2011 6:20 PM

    To put it another way, basketball sucks.

  40. da11ascowboys says: Jan 31, 2011 6:39 PM

    I agree 100% with mattsffrd on the first comment! I loved the competitions! The QB distance throwing, and accuracy drills especially. They should add new ones!

  41. Chris Ross says: Jan 31, 2011 8:19 PM

    I couldn’t believe the pro-bowl was 42-0 at one point when I flipped on for the first time yesterday. I know it ended up closer but having a combined total of 97 points or whatever it was is just plain stupid. Football needs to get rid of the pro-bowl. Just send the pro-bowlers to Hawaii and leave it at that. Moreover, not having the players who are playing in the Super Bowl is doubly stupid in my opinion. I know it’s not original to think to get rid of it but I don’t see any way they can change it to make it actually exciting. Maybe a Skills competition like NBA or NHL? Idk.

    http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/get-rid-of-em/

  42. raiders757 says: Feb 1, 2011 6:37 AM

    mightymightylafootball pretty much nailed it. The numbers don’t tell us the real story. The NFL is extremely popular and the fans are going to tune in no matter what. It’s just like the huge numbers the AFC Championship game got. Contrary to what Steelers fans like to think, the games ratings had nothing to do with who played in it. Almost every football fan in America was going to watch the game no matter, and it would have had the same ratings even if it were the Bills vs. Colts. Tjat game was on in a later time slot when everyone is settling in for the evening. If you flip flopped the AFC and NFC games, it would have been the NFC game getting those numbers. It’s simple. People love their football.

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