For those wondering why the NFL continues to play the Pro Bowl every year despite public criticisms that the game isn’t as competitive as it needs to be and the risk of injury is too great for players to compete in the game only need to look at the viewership to see why the NFL will never stop playing the game so long as people watch.
According to Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing, the Pro Bowl which used a new format this year which featured a draft and teammates playing against each other drew higher ratings than any NHL game played in the last year and this was despite a 13 percent drop in ratings because they competed with the Grammys
The Pro Bowl drew 11.4 million viewers for the glorified scrimmage and I was not one of them, but there is an insatiable hunger for the NFL no matter the circumstances.
Awful Announcing put together a list of marquee events outdrawn by this year’s Pro Bowl:
Fiesta Bowl (UCF-Baylor) – 11.2 million
MLB All-Star Game – 10.96 million
Preakness Stakes – 9.7 million
Ohio State-Michigan football – 9.5 million
Game 6 ALCS – 9.0 million
Peach Bowl (Texas A&M-Duke) – 8.69 million
Game 5 NBA Eastern Conference Finals – 8.54 million (and all but one conference finals game)
Final Round US Open golf – 8.39 million
Game 6 NHL Stanley Cup Finals – 8.16 million (and every other hockey game in the past year)
US-Mexico World Cup Qualifier – 6.96 million between ESPN & Univision
US Open Women’s Tennis Final – 6.17 million
Indianapolis 500 – 5.70 million
These numbers may make diehard fans of other sports depressed to know a meaningless NFL exhibition that apparently no one cares about smashes the pinnacle events in their league, but it also goes to show you that the NFL is without question America’s pasttime.