POSTED: 05:38 a.m. HST, Jan 27, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 03:33 p.m. HST, Jan 27, 2014
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Sunday's Pro Bowl game "was a very, very positive step" for the game that he had considered canceling less than a year ago.
"You have to admit it was very competitive. It was exciting fun," Goodell said on ESPN radio today.
Team (Jerry) Rice won the game, 22-21, over Team (Deion) Sanders before an announced crowd of 47,270 at Aloha Stadium.
Goodell said, "Players played much harder. It was real football and it was something I give a lot of credit to the players (for). Domonique Foxworth (NFLPA president) worked with a lot of players to come up with a concept that they would all get excited about. And, this non-conference competition, particularly when you have to play against one of your own teammates, it added another element of interest to it. And, I believe, it was a very, very positive step and I salute the players and am glad that they had so much fun."
Goodell said, "I think fans had a fun time watching it. I know I did."
The commissioner's statement comes less than a year after he reportedly considered canceling the annual all-star game. Foxworth told USA Today, "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."
With the game now apparently back in the league's good graces, the NFL has yet to announce where the 2015, '16 and '17 Pro Bowls will be held.