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Goodell salutes players for Pro Bowl improvements

ProBowl Getty Images

Not long ago, the Pro Bowl was in a coma.  And Commissioner Roger Goodell was ready to pull the plug.

Now, a day after the first unconferenced, fantasy-style, teammate-vs-teammate game, Goodell has declared the annual all-star game to be in a much better state of health.

“You have to admit it was very competitive,” Goodell told ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning.  “Exciting.  Fun.  I think the players played much harder.”

Goodell liked the changes, as suggested by NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth.

“I believe it was a very, very positive step,” Goodell said.  “I salute the players.”

The players generally want to keep the Pro Bowl, but they realize that it’s not wise to take unwarranted risks with their health in late January, especially those who are due to become free agents.

For at least one night, they set enough of those concerns aside to make the game look more like a real NFL game.  Which means that the non-real postseason game known as the Pro Bowl is likely to continue, at least for the foreseeable future.

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62 Responses to “Goodell salutes players for Pro Bowl improvements”
  1. goodellisruiningtheleague says: Jan 27, 2014 8:49 AM

    I thought the game was much more entertaining but please change the jersey colors. They were horrendous.

  2. wwwmattcom says: Jan 27, 2014 8:51 AM

    Delete pro bowl.

    Delete one pre season game.

    Create 18 week season.

    Add one game and one bye week.

    One by week should be fore the entire AFC and the other for the entire NFC.

    After respective bye weeks, teams play within conference to avoid unfair prep advantages.

    Rex Ryan could get bigger discounts at Dave and Busters

  3. jsharris54 says: Jan 27, 2014 8:53 AM

    Say what you want about the close final score, high ratings, or players enjoying it, but the Pro Bowl is still mainly a way for the league to make money during the pre-Super Bowl bye week and little else. Football just isn’t a sport you can play when the outcome is meaningless, and it’s only a matter of time before a star player blows out a knee or suffers another injury that puts their next season in jeopardy. In a season where what seemed to be a record number of players visited the IR for serious career threatening injuries, it’s a shame the NFL seems to care so little about the health of its players. I like football as much as the next guy commenting here, but the quality of play this season was much lower, and I hate to see a great game get watered down by greed.

  4. PeterKingLovesCoqAVin says: Jan 27, 2014 8:55 AM

    Got lucky. That game was one Jamaal Charles concussion away from never happening again. If they keep doing this, someone is eventually going to get seriously hurt, and then it’ll never happen again. Goodell knows this, of course, and does not care.

  5. Punk says: Jan 27, 2014 8:57 AM

    I watched it, I loved it. It is the Pro Bowl as I remember it from my youth.

  6. dolphins1484 says: Jan 27, 2014 9:12 AM

    I don’t see why the pro bowl can’t be an enjoyable game to watch. If the players go hard – like they did last night – you have the majority of the best players in the league playing a competitive game of nfl football. I enjoy that.

    As far as injuries go – I could care less. These men were payed incredibly well to play a game for a living. Go hard every game; whether you play for the jaguars and its weeks 16, or you’re playing in the pro bowl a week before the superbowl.

  7. deathonwings410 says: Jan 27, 2014 9:12 AM

    The Pro Bowl was AWESOME. If you love defensive football, that was a game for the ages (well not quite, lol). Those defensive lines were GETTING AFTER IT!

  8. savocabol1 says: Jan 27, 2014 9:15 AM

    The only thing I liked for the five mins I tuned in, was the end of the quarter rules. I like the “you have to gain a yard or time stops” rule.

  9. garyman1 says: Jan 27, 2014 9:16 AM

    Unlike Pro Bowl’s from recent past, this one actually looked like football was played. Well done !

  10. broncosaddict says: Jan 27, 2014 9:23 AM

    “For at least one night, they set enough of those concerns aside to make the game look more like a real NFL game”

    Compared to how it was, just about anything looks more like a real NFL game…and even with all the changes, its still no where close.

    I completely understand and don’t blame the players for being careful and trying to avoid injuries when playing. Its a meaningless game, why risk injury?

    I gave it a shot to see if the changes made it interesting and to a certain extent they did, but the game overall was still a joke and pretty boring.

    Next year I will restart my streak of not wasting my time by watching the pro-bowl game.

  11. jbaxt says: Jan 27, 2014 9:25 AM

    As a Chiefs fan that game was a little scary. Charles was nearly concussed by his fricken teammate, Poe had a great play but when he was run down I was a bit concerned about the behemoth falling to the ground that hard, and Alex Smith nearly had a nasty ankle injury when Watt tee’d off on him. But it was nice to see Derrick Johnson show up, ever since going missing in that Colts playoff game. It was good, competitive, and fun but too risky to play that hard. A player getting injured in the probowl would be horrible. I say make it a skills competition instead of contact.

  12. kenny328usa says: Jan 27, 2014 9:31 AM

    I am constantly on here spewing my hatred for Goodell and his moronic ideas. So in fairness I have to give credit where credit is due. I think he hit this one out of the park. I turned the game on at about the end of the first quarter and watched the rest of the game. It was a really fun, entertaining game to watch. I hope it wasn’t just a flash in the pan because next year I’ll be watching from the coin toss.

  13. laserw says: Jan 27, 2014 9:40 AM

    This game reminded me of a preseason game with all the scrubs playing.

    It was not good football – it was NOT entertaining – it was just mediocre at best.

    I think that this game proves that the “stars” are nothing with their teammates to make them better. It is obvious that the pro bowl is now what Daniel Snyder of the Redskins has been trying to build since he took over this franchise…. All big names, little real effort, and no chemistry.

    Kill the game. You can’t tweak this game to make it entertaining.

    And judging by the stands, the fans won’t sit in warm rain to watch this mess either.

  14. gjdodger2 says: Jan 27, 2014 9:48 AM

    They proved the best players in the game can put out a competitive, interesting product just by playing sound, fundamental football. They don’t have to do the crazy hits and the headhunting that you see during the season. But we’d sure miss it if every game was as subdued as yesterday’s. It was solid, but there was no intensity.

  15. ghostofgilchrist says: Jan 27, 2014 9:57 AM

    It’s all fun and games until somebody puts an eye out.

  16. Punk says: Jan 27, 2014 10:01 AM

    I can understand why people wouldn’t watch the game based on recent Pro Bowl history. But seriously, you missed a fun game.

  17. puntonfirstdown says: Jan 27, 2014 10:11 AM

    I tried to watch it, but my eyes felt like vomiting.

  18. boiler72 says: Jan 27, 2014 10:15 AM

    Punk says: Jan 27, 2014 8:57 AM

    I watched it, I loved it. It is the Pro Bowl as I remember it from my youth.
    ______________________________

    I don’t know if I “loved” it, but I did watch it and found the new format to be rather fun and enjoyable. This way of doing it probably saved it. It was kinda cool watching Deion and Jerry be all pumped on the sidelines.

  19. gquesen says: Jan 27, 2014 10:16 AM

    The guy over at bleacherreport didn’t seem to agree…I didn’t watch, so I have no opinion.

  20. maverick0 says: Jan 27, 2014 10:17 AM

    Didnt like the 2 minute warning at the end of the 1st and 3rd quarter.

    Did like the offensive and defensive MVP award, but Nick Foles offensive MVP?? GIve me a break!

    Would like to see some award system to where everyone (even the O-linemen) have at least a CHANCE to win a car…if they are going to have this game.

    Eventually, someone will get hurt and lose a year / career (Robert Edwards – albeit in a volleyball game), if they play like they did yesterday and then they will potentially go to a skills competition.

  21. sbaltimore says: Jan 27, 2014 10:23 AM

    Meh. It’s yet another in the long list of self-serving, money making/grubbing ventures that IS the 21st century NFL.

  22. roadtrip3500 says: Jan 27, 2014 10:26 AM

    The biggest change that made the game more like “football” was allowing bump-and-run coverage. Years past, the receivers had a 10-15 yard cushion from the snap – the QBs just aired it out all day and ran up scores in the 40s. Yesterday, the CBs actually got to play corner and it made a huge difference for the pass rushers. 9 sacks meant the WRs were not getting open without that free release, and the secondaries were doing their jobs.

  23. Punk says: Jan 27, 2014 10:26 AM

    to the guy with the vomiting eyes…. You watched that game and you didn’t enjoy it? Really?

    I would have to bet you had a serious pre-conceived notion.

  24. aldante66 says: Jan 27, 2014 10:29 AM

    My two cents. I watched part of the first quarter and thought this again is all offense, no defense.
    Then watched the last five minutes and noticed a funny thing. The receiver went way up in the air and was actually hit pretty hard. He turned around and looked at the dback as to say ‘what the f are you doing you could have hurt me’.
    Based on this, you gotta know these players are going to be talking about ‘hey, next year no real hitting or one of us will get hurt’.
    What you saw last night will not happen again. No way these guys go all out. It was a fluke. The agents are already this am phoning their clients, are you nuts. Your career is on the line pal, for a game that is meaningless.
    Last night was an aberition, won’t happen again just because some of us liked it.

  25. ripster65 says: Jan 27, 2014 10:32 AM

    I liked it! Maybe they could move back to sometime after the Super Bowl…? You might get more of the Super Bowl attendees to show up for the Pro Bowl. It might also give a little rest to some players who may have just finished their playoff runs. Just a thought…

  26. aldante66 says: Jan 27, 2014 10:34 AM

    Wonder how many defensive linemen will line up against their own QB and put him down. Destroy the franchise and jeopardize the season?

    How many injuries were there and how many guys got carried off the field?

    This was nothing more than a scrimmage.

  27. j0esixpack says: Jan 27, 2014 10:40 AM

    So Goodell actually WATCHED the Pro Bowl?

    I think he may have been the only one.

    Throw out this joke of a game of the “best” players (who weren’t good enough to go to the Super Bowl or smart enough to think of a reason to decline and avoid the risk of injury, or poor enough to actually want to attend a free Hawaii vacation) and replace it with something fans will watch.

    Have the worst NFL team play the best college team. THAT I would watch, given the prospect of the college team beating the pros.

    It would make the potential humiliation a nice incentive for teams NOT to tank a season like the Colts did a few years back to grab a franchise player.

  28. uglyglazers says: Jan 27, 2014 10:49 AM

    Omg, I forgot about the pro bowl! I was planning to watch he Super Bowl, and didn’t even think about the pro bowl. So odd it is before the Super Bowl
    Now!

  29. xinellum says: Jan 27, 2014 10:50 AM

    When players start to get injured you will see fewer and fewer big names playing. Already a large portion of players opted out of the game and if the game continues to be as hard hitting it will be a group of has beens, wannabes and second stringers. Then they will cancel the game for that reason. It is a doomed format in a high dollar game with nothing but a high risk low reward option. When the game was played because players loved it this was a good game. Now that players play for money and not the love of the sport the Pro Bowl is a dinosaur. No matter what they do it is one year or one big injury away from being cancelled or players boycotting it. Face the fact, it pays 52k to the winning team, far less than their average payday and not worth risking a multi-million dollar career for a trip to Hawaii they could all easily afford.

  30. scmems07 says: Jan 27, 2014 10:57 AM

    does not matter what you do roger, no fan will ever be happy or satisfied. darned if you do, darned if you dont.

  31. youcantmakemepickausername says: Jan 27, 2014 10:58 AM

    It was definitely an improvement, but it was an improvement in the sense that someone’s current girlfriend is an improvement over his last one because the last one looked like Janet Reno. If the previous few games were a one on a scale of one to ten, I’d put this years’ at about a five. I will say, I watched it off and on and enjoyed it for the most part.

    One other thing i will say, while I hate to agree with anything that dope Greenberg says, I do agree with him when he said Brees looked genuinely suprised the first few times he was hit/tackled. Almost like “hey, that’s not supposed to happen”.

  32. crisper57 says: Jan 27, 2014 11:03 AM

    ghostofgilchrist says:
    Jan 27, 2014 9:57 AM
    It’s all fun and games until somebody puts an eye out…

    …Then it is a sport.

  33. justintuckrule says: Jan 27, 2014 11:10 AM

    I’m proud to say that I didn’t watch it.

  34. terminatahx says: Jan 27, 2014 11:14 AM

    The ProBowl is chock-full-o gimmicks now.

    - Horrible uniforms
    - Fantasy football style drafting by former players (instead of the 2 best coaches in the NFL)
    - Removal of kickoff
    - Many of the best players absent (no incentive to pay)
    - still scheduled before the Superbowl.

    The game took a step towards the worse. If this is what the future looks like, they are better off cancelling the pro-bowl.

  35. donschmidt72 says: Jan 27, 2014 11:26 AM

    I thought the game was much improved from recent games!! With the money these guys make the only way to increase intensity is to put up huge money for the winning team but that might make it unfeasible. Maybe they should play for a charity. The two MVP’s, offense and defense, of the game announce the charity they want the money to go to. Each player still receives their money for playing but the league puts up atleast one million for each charity. This may help increase a little more intensity as each player may want to play for MVP so they can send money to their charity. Some players still may not care but some may and those who do may play a little harder forcing those that do not care to play harder or risk looking really bad and risk injury. Maybe the captains as this past one would have been Rice and Sanders announce ahead of time what charity there team will play for. So the winnings team captain wins a million for his charity and then each of the MVP,s of the game wins a million for there charity! Surly the NFL can afford this plus its a tax write off.

  36. rcali says: Jan 27, 2014 11:26 AM

    Whoops, missed it again. Hey, there was a “Godfather” marathon on.

  37. pixelito says: Jan 27, 2014 11:28 AM

    For anyone who had nothing better to do than to watch this game…. Sorry your life turned out like that.

  38. fmc651 says: Jan 27, 2014 11:39 AM

    Did not bother to watch again this year. Those uniforms are the worst. Ugly as the game has become. The fact that this game has eroded because of the salaries these guys get today $25 – 30,000 for winning means a small shopping spree for them or little. This game is ruined. I have no interest in watching guys on vacation fooling around.

  39. jburk003 says: Jan 27, 2014 11:39 AM

    They rigged that outcome to have it close lol. Anyone with half a brain knows that. Seriously, the NFL wanted viewers watching until the very end.

    Do you think the NFL is going to NOT make money the week before the Super Bowl?? That’s all the pro bowl is anyways.

    The NFL donates only 10% of profits of the pink cancer gear to cancer research. ONLY 10% of profits for pink cancer gear goes to, you know, cancer patients, even tho it is a billion dollar entity

  40. johnnyjagfan says: Jan 27, 2014 11:45 AM

    I really enjoyed it. Those guys on Rice’s team exploded off the bench when Tolbert went in for the win. I told somebody earlier in the day that I’d probably go to bed after a few plays but I watched the whole game. Going for two was fun. I missed kickoff returns, though. Just seeing a team handed the ball at the 25 was odd. Overall it was like watching a fantasy game between two guys in real life. Fun stuff. Much better than old, lame conference rivalries that hardly exist anymore because of free agency. Good entertainment.

  41. holdmadik24 says: Jan 27, 2014 11:55 AM

    Wait… What? They played the Probowl?

  42. phillysports1 says: Jan 27, 2014 12:03 PM

    Is it me or Tolbert knee was down before he reach the goal line ?

  43. melikefootball says: Jan 27, 2014 12:08 PM

    What do you expect Gödel to say. Looked as if no was in the stands and the uniforms looked as if the players still live in the college world instead of being PROS. Half the players were replacements and how many teams had none show up. Watching many plays with no blocking and players standing still was like watching kids stealing candy an no one saying anything.

  44. footballchic777 says: Jan 27, 2014 12:17 PM

    It was actually a fun game to watch. seeing teammates nail each other on tackles, QBs actually got hit, and Prime on the sidelines upset they lost…… best game they have had in years

  45. clssylssy says: Jan 27, 2014 12:28 PM

    It’s always fun to watch our favorite players off the field and with other players doing whatever. People will tune in or buy tickets, etc. just on the “big name draw”. As far as being an all star game, it was more like an all star scrimmage using junior high rules with players dressed like convicts playing in their PJs. If this is the face of what Goodell has in mind for the future of football, I’ll buy my hockey tickets now… And, Michael Corleone trumps Nick Foles any day for entertainment value!

  46. broncosaddict says: Jan 27, 2014 12:42 PM

    Punk says:
    Jan 27, 2014 10:26 AM
    to the guy with the vomiting eyes…. You watched that game and you didn’t enjoy it? Really?

    I would have to bet you had a serious pre-conceived notion.

    While I did not come close to vomiting, I watched it and did not enjoy it…Really!
    I did have a pre-conceived notion…seeing an actual NFL football game.
    It wasn’t in previous years and after watching last night, it still isn’t.
    It’s like the NBA All-Star game in that its more of a pick-up game then a real game, some people like it and some people don’t. I fall into the second category.
    I realize they don’t play balls to the wall because of the fear of injury and I don’t begrudge them at all. But some people don’t like to watch games like that nor find it entertaining.
    If you liked it, great for you, glad you were entertained and enjoyed it….but that doesn’t mean everyone else has to like it.

  47. realitypolice says: Jan 27, 2014 1:04 PM

    It was Godfather weekend on AMC. I actually forgot the Pro Bowl was on.

  48. Deb says: Jan 27, 2014 1:14 PM

    Thought the new Team Pro Bowl thing sounded interesting until it came time for the game and I had no one to root for. As a Steelers fan, I always rooted for the AFC–and that’s where my guys were. Sorry, I’m not rooting for Sanders, which is where Antonio Brown wound up. So why bother watching?

    I never missed the Pro Bowl when it was the week after the Super Bowl and kind of a low-key farewell to football for the season. Haven’t seen one since they moved it to the week before (ensuring no one from the championship teams would be there) and started making so many substitutions it’s pointless for us to vote. Talk about going from mediocre to worse.

  49. phillipalpha says: Jan 27, 2014 1:34 PM

    Easily the best Pro Bowl in ages.

    The change of the rules with the draft made it easy for me to just root for my favourite players, you know, like when you play fantasy football – looked like the players went all out to a line. no plays were downright vicious, and all in all it was a perfect celebration of the NFL Season, a Super Bowl pre-party.

    I think the voting is stupid (where the hell is Lavonte David, DeAndre Levy etc.) – which left guys like Tamba Hali playing coverage rather than rush the passer.

    It was the first game where i genuinely didnt really care about who won – i could just watch some of the best individual players in the game having a good time.

    Seeing guys like Weddle who had 3-4 shots at taking out opposing recievers, go for the ball and really make a play without causing injury – to me is the perfect example of how the Pro Bowl should be played.

    Even the DL while going all out did their best to avoid injuring anybody, showing that you can make an effort and still create an entertaining game.

    My only worry is that there are not really a lot of Charismatic HOF’ers to choose from when it comes to picking the team captains.

  50. mogogo1 says: Jan 27, 2014 1:40 PM

    Didn’t watch it. Didn’t even bother getting the details on how or why it was Rice and Sanders who got to run the teams as opposed to the scores of other former players they could have picked. If I were at the game, I’m sure it would be entertaining to see all those players. But I just can’t justify the time watching a game on TV that even the players don’t want to compete in despite it being a great honor to be selected. It’s not like the NBA All-Star game where you can watch for 5 minutes and see 3 great dunks. (And I don’t watch the NBA All-Star game any more, despite knowing I could see some cool plays in a very short amount of time.)

  51. RedScarab says: Jan 27, 2014 2:16 PM

    I really enjoyed this years pro bowl. It was even more entertaining than many of those Monday night football games!

    One of the things I’ve always liked about the pro bowl is that you get a little more behind the scenes view of the game – the coaches, the players, roots and beginnings, unsung heroes and stuff like that. I especially liked the closeups of the QB code plays and their translations.

    I love everything about football and this year’s pro bowl was icing on the cake – an awesome primer for the much anticipated superbowl!

  52. cribberreno says: Jan 27, 2014 2:26 PM

    The NFL created this billion dollar fantasy industry , so why not make it a real-life fantasy game? Use the NFL’s fantasy scoring rules. Scores on every play for yards gained, tackles, fumbles etc. Could be interesting.

  53. rabidbillsfan says: Jan 27, 2014 2:37 PM

    Seriously people, I wish the internet would go down in flames one day, what would you trolls have to do with your lives? This isn’t the Superbowl, nor is it a playoff game. It should have the feel of a 3rd pre-season game to be honest. And last night, it did. It was enjoyable to watch, I turned it on at the gym and bounced back and forth between my work out and the game, sometimes even prolonging my rest period to check it out. Best probowl of the last few years. As far as I know, unless you were at the game, you didn’t pay anything for it, so that was the best free entertainment I could ask for. I mean, we all know the majority of you here need this as someplace that you can get attention for saying outlandish things because you weren’t hugged enough as a child, well you don’t have to look stupid while doing it. The game was watchable, the players were having fun, so shove it already.

  54. keltictim says: Jan 27, 2014 2:45 PM

    Just out of curiosity, since everybody is so opinionated on both sides of the injury issue, when was the last time a serious injury was suffered at the pro bowl?

  55. nomoreseasontix says: Jan 27, 2014 2:51 PM

    There was a Pro Bowl?

    When?

    Why wasn’t I notified??

  56. bobzilla1001 says: Jan 27, 2014 3:06 PM

    Even though the “game” was more defensive-minded than in the recent past, I still see no reason to actually play it…
    Without conference ties, there really is nothing to watch. At least, in the past, it was kinda interesting to see which conference might be the “best.”
    As far as I’m concerned, this year’s Pro Bowl was nothing more than an excuse to give Deion Sanders more face time.
    Lastly, looked like a lot of empty seats. By game’s end, there probably were around a thousand people in the stands to witness the dramatic conclusion.
    Pull the plug on this farce.

  57. musicman495 says: Jan 27, 2014 3:27 PM

    I watched some of it, but hate fantasy football, so having teammates on different sides wearing unintelligible uniforms was more confusing than anything. I actually liked the Pro Bowl the way it was before – week after the Super Bowl and by Conferences – but if the new format makes the players more likely to actually put forth some effort, I guess we are stuck with this. What I miss most of all from playing the game AFTER the Super Bowl was the inclusion of the players from the Super Bowl teams, and the celebration of the newly minted Hall of Famers. Of course, NFL Network now beats the Hall of Fame announcement to a pulp, so I guess no one cares about that any more either.

  58. jayniner says: Jan 27, 2014 3:38 PM

    We all know the real score to that game was 28-21(29-21 with a PAT if all those people hadn’t run on the field after the final FG attempt)

  59. Getoffmylawn! says: Jan 27, 2014 4:02 PM

    Was still better than the Grammy’s.

  60. bbwasright says: Jan 27, 2014 6:31 PM

    Wait! There was a football game last weekend?! I completely forgot about it. Oops. At least I have the State of the Union tomorrow to give me more entertainment value.

  61. ace402 says: Jan 27, 2014 10:36 PM

    I tried watching it. I couldn’t tell who was on what team or which team was which. Give me the AFC versus NFC with the red, white and blue uniforms so I tell which player is on which team. This looks like something Bud Selig would have done in baseball. Goodell quit messing with the game everyone grew up with and loves.

  62. silentcount says: Jan 28, 2014 2:14 AM

    So, you have players recognized as being at the top. You send them to Hawaii to have a nice vacation. Leave it at that. What’s the point of seeing them bumping into each other on a football field because they have no real chemistry as a team? It’s like watching a telethon or infomercial.

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