With an apparent pledge from the players to make the Pro Bowl more competitive, the NFL said it is returning game to Hawaii for 2013.
It will be played Jan. 27 at Aloha Stadium, one week before the New Orleans Super Bowl, and shown on NBC.
“We are extremely pleased the NFL will return to the Hawaiian Islands in 2013 for the Pro Bowl, and are grateful for our more than 30 year partnership,” said Hawaii Tourism Authority President Mike McCartney. “Many of us believe that there is no better place in the world to host this game.”
The future of the annual all-star game had been in doubt after a lackluster effort by the players in the 2012 game at Aloha Stadium. In addition, comments by Gov. Neil Abercrombie questioining the worth of the game here had overshadowed the 2012 game.
Today, Abercrombie said the return of the Pro Bowl is “wonderful news” for football fans.
“I have had discussions with the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the NFL to look at ways in which we can provide a renewed experience for the game next year for the players, visitors, people of Hawaii and fans the world over,” Abvercrombie said. “Hawaii has a variety of cultural experiences to offer and we want to be sure to highlight our uniqueness beyond the beauty of our landscape.”
The Pro Bowl has been held at Aloha Stadium every year except 2010 since 1980 and the 2012 game was the final one under the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s deal with the NFL.
New Orleans had also been under consideration as a site for the game if it was to be held in 2013.
“The players have made it clear through the NFL Players Association that they would like the opportunity to continue to play the Pro Bowl in Hawaii,” NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson said in a release. “We will support the players on this initiative to improve the Pro Bowl. We have had many discussions with the players in recent years about the Pro Bowl and they recognize that the quality of the game has not been up to NFL standards. We look forward to working with the players toward the goal of improving the competitiveness of this season’s game.”
NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth said, “The players believe that the Pro Bowl is an important tradition. We worked hard with the league to make sure the best players in the NFL are honored for their achievements on the field.”