Pro Bowl scores well with viewers
The Pro Bowl's new, earlier date resulted in more viewers tuning in to the NFL's all-star game.
Sunday's AFC-NFC matchup on ESPN was watched by an average of 12.3 million viewers, the most since 2000. That's up 40 percent from last year's Pro Bowl on NBC, which drew 8.8 million viewers when the event was held after the Super Bowl.
This season's game was in a later time slot, when more people watch TV. But it also had to compete against the Grammys on CBS, which attracted 25.8 million viewers, the most since 2004.
The game was held in Honolulu from 1980 through 2009. It is scheduled to return here in 2011 and 2012.
INDY READY TO PLAY WITHOUT FREENEY
The hope is that Dwight Freeney will play in Sunday's Super Bowl for the Indianapolis Colts.
The plan is to play the game without him in Miami.
After Freeney missed all four practices last week, coach Jim Caldwell said yesterday the team was preparing to play without the injured All-Pro defensive end.
"He hasn't been practicing, so if he's not practicing, we are preparing to not have him," Caldwell told reporters after arriving in South Florida. "If he can't go, we'll do some rotations, and Raheem (Brock) will be a big part of that."
Freeney is listed as questionable on the team's injury report with a sprained right ankle. Caldwell reiterated the team's position, saying Freeney has a third-degree, low-ankle sprain and is improving.
Bears: Mike Martz, the headstrong coach who orchestrated the "Greatest Show on Turf" while molding Kurt Warner into a Pro Bowl quarterback with the St. Louis Rams, is Chicago's new offensive coordinator.
Martz's hiring ended a nearly monthlong search to replace the fired Ron Turner. His job is to turn around a struggling offense and get the most out of QB Jay Cutler.