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Goodell says he noticed improved play at Pro Bowl

By Ferd Lewis

LAST UPDATED: 12:28 p.m. HST, Jan 28, 2013

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took note of the improved play in Sunday's Pro Bowl  and commended "the players commitment"  today.

Goodell made the comments in an online chat on reddit.com, according to the NFL.

Asked how open he was to making changes in the Pro Bowl, Goodell replied, " I watched the game and noticed the improved quality of the game. I appreciate the players commitment in this regard. We need to continually work to make our game better for the fans. I look forward to getting detailed player comment and input over the next few weeks."

The NFC won the game, 62-35.

Goodell had  briefly "suspended" the game last year in the wake of lackluster 2012 contest and agreed to reinstate it for 2013 on a trial basis.

An NFL spokesman has said he expects a decision on the game's future in April when the team schedules are announced.

Pro Bowl players said they thought the game showed improved effort.

“That was the big emphasis this week, making sure that we were competitive and I think we showed that,” said Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph, named the Pro Bowl MVP.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson got the crowd pumped up in the second half with some nifty scrambles and three passing touchdowns. There was also Houston’s sack-happy defensive end J.J. Watt going out for a couple of passes as a wide receiver, and retiring Green Bay center Jeff Saturday snapping to two Mannings on opposite teams.

“Guys were competing, guys wanted to win and guys want to keep the game here,” Rudolph insisted. “That was the point before the game. We want to keep this game rolling for future Pro Bowlers.”

Watt, who had 20 1/2  sacks for Houston, lined up as a wide receiver on the AFC’s third play from scrimmage, but missed a pass from Peyton Manning. He was targeted one more time, but didn’t make a catch.

He later showed a television camera a bloody left pinkie, joking with NBC broadcasters that it was proof that the players were trying.

“Hey, Commish, we’re playing hard,” Watt said as he showed his finger.

The game was trending on Twitter in the United States early on, but quickly gave way to the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the WWE Royal Rumble.

Giants wideout Victor Cruz broke a Pro Bowl record with 10 catches. Tampa Bay receiver Vincent Jackson had 91 yards and two touchdowns. Eli Manning threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns.

Cincinnati’s A.J. Green had three TD catches for the AFC.

“We understood exactly what (Goodell) wanted, guys were making plays all over the field,” Cruz said. “There was a little bit more high intensity than in years past and we were excited to play."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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