Commissioner Roger Goodell wants a more competitive Pro Bowl in February.
After coaches and players publicly blasted the effort put forth in last year's game, Goodell and NFL owners considered pulling the plug. Players lobbied to keep the all-star game and not just voting to designate Pro Bowl picks, but Goodell said the game itself remains in jeopardy.
"If we cannot accomplish that kind of standard (of top effort), I am inclined to not play it," Goodell said on SiriusXM Radio on Monday. "It is really tough to force competition, and after a long season, to ask those guys to go out and play at the same level they played is really tough."
Patriots coach Bill Belichick and other high-profile coaches were vocal about the poor quality of the game last year. The AFC won the game 59-41 in what often looked more like a controlled scrimmage or college spring football game.
Goodell also said the NFL has "an issue with preseason" while not offering a defined alternative to expanding the regular-season schedule from 16 games. Citing issues of player health and safety, the NFLPA is not agreeable to adding regular-season games.
"Our fans don't like watching the preseason games, attending the preseason games, so we have to evaluate the season format," he said, "and that is one way of looking at it: 18-2. Or go to 16-2 or some other alternative; take two of those (preseason) games and make them more developmental."