For a game that was almost canceled, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says Sunday's Pro Bowl was a relative success.
Goodell appeared on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike in the Morning show (via Pro Football Talk) on Monday and said he was pleased with what he saw.
“You have to admit, it was very competitive,” Goodell said. “Exciting. Fun. I think the players played much harder.”
According to USA Today, Goodell almost axed the game entirely. Outgoing NFLPA president Dominique Foxworth supported the notion, but changes to the game helped convince him that the game was worth sparing.
"Roger was very serious about potentially canceling the Pro Bowl because apparently it's very expensive and isn't of a ton of value to them," Foxworth said. "To be honest with you, I was completely comfortable with eliminating it until I talked to the players, and they said they loved it and they want to be there."
The altered format include "un-conferenced" teams that were drafted by captains Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders, which helped generate some fan buzz. In addition, the game allowed zone coverage and two-minute drills at the end of each quarter. (Plus, the players wore uniforms that made it look like a Tennessee-Oregon college bowl game, for what that's worth.)
Goodell said he liked the new format of the game and believes it was a success.
“I believe it was a very, very positive step,” Goodell said. “I salute the players.”
This likely means that the Pro Bowl has been taken off death row for now, even with concerns of players getting hurt and the financial burden of the game. The TV ratings, if strong, will also help buoy the game and keep it going.
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