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Inaugural Pro Bowl 'draft' to spice up NFL all-star game

By Ferd Lewis

LAST UPDATED: 05:25 p.m. HST, Dec 16, 2013

The trash talking started early for the inaugural Pro Bowl draft, which will air during a three-hour prime-time broadcast from the beach at Ko Olina Jan. 22 on the NFL Network.

In a teleconference today, Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice said, "I can tell Deion (Sanders) is afraid of me."

Rice and Sanders will draft players, regardless of conference, Jan. 21-22 for the game that will be played Jan. 26 at Aloha Stadium and televised on NBC. Sanders was not available for the conference call.

Players selected for the game will be placed on "Team Rice" or "Team Sanders." The deadline for fans to vote on their picks for the Pro Bowl — ballots are available online — is Dec. 26.

The institution of a "draft" comes as the NFL attempts to perk up interest and TV ratings for a game that commissioner Roger Goodell had considered scrapping a year ago after a lackluster performance by players in 2012 and declining TV viewership.  

Rice and Sanders are to be assisted by two active player captains and an NFL.com fantsay football champion. 

Most of the 88 players selected to appear in Pro Bowl on Dec. 27 are expected to attend the live draft, the NFL said.


Correction: The Pro Bowl draft is Jan. 21-22. An earlier version of this story said it would be in December.

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Mana07 wrote:
To improve ratings: 1. Have the game after the superbowl 2. Require players selected to attend and play 3. If they must go with their draft idea...use the superbowl coaches and quarterbacks as the team/draft captains not that knucklehead Deion Sanders
on December 16,2013 | 10:36AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
The game was moved to the week before the Super Bowl because its old position as the last NFL game for six months didn't fit in the context of the product the league is trying to present. The Super Bowl is supposed to be the apex of the season and should be the last game.

Another issue with putting it at the end of the season is that you could have players participating who haven't played meaningful football for four or five weeks at that point, which puts them at greater risk of injury. I think this draft idea is probably one of their last ditch efforts to save the game. Otherwise, it's off to the trash pile. You can't require players to attend...that's how you generate apathy and crappy games are the result.

on December 16,2013 | 11:15AM
Mana07 wrote:
Moving it to before the Super Bowl actually hurt attendance. Fans were upset that they didn't get to see the superbowl players. I agree that the draft is a last ditch effort.........the league can REQUIRE anything they want. You don't think it is an apapthetic displsy and a crappy game already?
on December 16,2013 | 01:24PM
PCWarrior wrote:
M-i-c-k-e-y M-o-u-s-e. Hawaii fans got such low self esteem if they put up with this Mickey Mouse baloney.
on December 16,2013 | 12:40PM
bluhawaii74 wrote:
Try to enjoy. The HTA is spending $4 million dollars of our money on this travesty. Proud to pay a small part in lining the pockets of the world's wealthiest sports organization.
on December 16,2013 | 11:54AM
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