Posted by Will Brinson
The Pro Bowl aired on Sunday to much criticism -- baseball writers were screaming about how awesome their version was, casual fans were complaining, and even NFL heads were bitter at the dismal performance. (In fact, it was so bad, it inspired our "10 ways to improve the Pro Bowl" post.)
But here's some surprising news: it was still really, really popular.
According to an NFL press release, the 2011 Pro Bowl was the "most watched all-star game for any sport since 2009."
Put that in your syringe and shoot it, Bud Selig!
But, no, really: 13.4 million viewers, which is the highest number of Pro Bowl viewers since the 1997 rendition, tuned into watch the NFC spank the AFC in a glorified version of beach volleyball.
While we can't be sure they were hanging around for the thrilling conclusion (Alex Mack's touchdown run), that's still a big number.
In fact, it's the largest number of folks who tuned into an all-star game since MLB's 2009 All-Star Game, which was aided slightly by this guy named Barack Obama throwing out the first pitch.
Pro Bowl viewership was up nine percent from 2010 and up a whopping 53 percent from 2009's game. The lesson, as always? People love the NFL.
Or maybe people just know that with a lockout looming, they need to maximize their chance to watch the sport on live television.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.