SBD/January 27, 2014/Media

Pro Bowl Sees Lowest Overnight Rating Since '09 With Competition From Grammys

NBC will likely finish second in primetime Sunday behind CBS' Grammys coverage
NBC earned a 6.7 overnight rating for the Pro Bowl last night, marking the lowest figure for the event since the net earned a 5.8 overnight in '09. Both the '14 and '09 Pro Bowls had head-to-head competition from the Grammys. Last night's telecast was down 13% from a 7.7 overnight for the '13 Pro Bowl. This year was the first time the Pro Bowl went up against the Grammys since '10. NBC earned a 7.9 for the Pro Bowl in '12 and Fox earned an 8.6 in '11. ESPN earned a 7.9 overnight for the game in '10. NBC will likely finish in second in primetime last night, with CBS taking the win. CBS' telecast of the Grammys earned a 17.7 overnight, down 7% from a 19.1 rating last year (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

CHANGES MADE A DIFFERENCE: The Pro Bowl has been criticized in recent years for a lack of effort from the players, but NBC's Cris Collinsworth said last night's game was "without question, of the Pro Bowls I’ve seen in the last decade, the most physical one." He said the changes that were made to the game, including eliminating kickoffs and having Pro Football HOFers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders draft the players for each team, "have made a difference.” Collinsworth compared last night's game with the '12 edition, and said of the game two years ago, "It was a joke. It was awful. The fans didn't get their money's worth, just no effort whatsoever. Today, a little different story, teammate against teammate, guys flying, people getting knocked. It’s been awesome.” He added, “I think there is a point of personal pride in this football game. … These guys are playing their tails off.” Collinsworth noted every player he talked to prior to the game felt like they could not let Rice and Sanders down. Collinsworth: "They really felt like it was their duty, because these two guys wanted to win so badly, to play all out in the football game. And I think we've seen a better level of play. ... There was emotion from the players about this game early on. Some of them were excited that these guys, these Hall of Famers, picked them. Some of them were very upset that they weren't picked and left in the green room." NBC's Al Michaels said, "I was thinking when I first saw the format that it would be too tough for fans to figure out who is playing with whom. But it really is a celebration of the NFL. ... It has very little to do with who is winning, who is losing. Nobody cares, even if it’s a conference, who wins or loses the Pro Bowl. It’s an all-star game” ("2014 Pro Bowl," NBC, 1/27). NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, "You have to admit, it was very competitive. It was exciting, fun, players played much harder. It was real football." He added, "I believe it was a very, very positive step and I salute the players" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 1/27). ESPN BOSTON's Mike Reiss: “The new Pro Bowl format led to a more competitive game” (ESPNBOSTON.com, 1/27).
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