Arian Foster on improving the Pro Bowl: Goodell’s not taking the hits

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Texans running back Arian Foster says he respects the fact that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants players to play harder in the Pro Bowl. But he thinks that’s a lot easier for Goodell to say than for the players to do.

“I see both sides of the coin, I really do,” Foster said on NFL Network. “But in all honesty, with all due respect, Mr. Goodell? He’s not out here taking these hits.”

Foster said he’d hate to see the Pro Bowl go away, but he also doesn’t think it’s realistic to expect players to hit each other at full speed in an exhibition game at the end of the season.

“The fans want a competitive game, but here you have players that have had 16-plus games, an entire season. Our bodies have worn down. This isn’t basketball. You can’t go play pickup football,” Foster said. “It’s a tough situation for both sides. I think it’s a good revenue attraction for the state of Hawaii. It brings a lot of revenue, brings a lot of tourism here, so you don’t want to see it go. And it’s a tradition for the NFL. So hopefully we get it figured out.”

It’s tough to envision a scenario in which “getting it figured out” entails the players playing as hard in the Pro Bowl as they do in a regular season game. The people who want that aren’t the ones taking the hits.

97 responses to “Arian Foster on improving the Pro Bowl: Goodell’s not taking the hits

  1. Just bring back the Pro Bowl Skills Competition and expand it to include EVERY player selected to the Pro Bowl..

  2. I agree with 99% of what Foster says. You can not expect the best of the best to hit full speed in this game.

    The one thing I do not agree with is pick up football games….my buddies and I played pick up football, tackle, no pads until we were in our late 20s….Come on man!

  3. I’m always so confused when people complain about the effort they see in the pro bowl. Do you watch the NBA all star game to see lockdown defense? No.

    What they really need to do is bring back the pro bowl skills competition they used to show on espn2 and NFL network like a week or so before the game.

  4. Don’t want to play hard? Then don’t go. Simple as that. I’ll gladly watch the 5th alternates if it meant watching a decent game that isn’t half-assed.

  5. I agree with Foster on both sides. I don’t want to see it go, but all players have played a full season, why should they be required to give 100% they put themselves through hell and all Goodell cares about is the pay day

  6. I see his point. Some kind of insurance on all participants that provides a lump sum payout if an injury from the game impacts their career?

    It’s all I can think off. That or turn this into a series of softball games.

  7. Nobody is forcing you to play, Arian. You don’t want the hits, stay home.

    That being said, I would prefer a weekend of skills competitions featuring the top players. More tv time = more money. The league should love that.

  8. Arian you and the rest of the NFL players signed up for playing through a 16 plus game season. You are getting paid to play a 16 plus game season. If you don’t want to hold up your end of the bargain by leaving it ALL out of the football field then you can use your degree and get a job like the rest of us. Or in your case, I’m sure there’s groceries that need to be bagged.

  9. I am dead serious when I make this suggestion: make it a Flag Football game.

    Or, come up with Olympic style competitions and heats and televise that. I’d rather watch serious competition than the half@$$ed and half hearted play we saw last year.

  10. It’s the worst game in the season. I’d rather watch Browns v Chiefs in torrential rain and 50mph winds than the Pro Bowl.

  11. Ironically, if players were to participate in an event like this that wasn’t sanctioned by the league, they’d likely be in violation of their contract terms. The Pro Bowl is reclic of a bygone era. There’s too much money at stake now.

  12. I cannot understand the fans that think players are selfish for not going all out in the probowl. Why would they? They don’t get paid more for playing (the bonus is for making the roster), they risk getting hurt, and coming off like a jerk if they hurt someone.

    I think they should just forgo the game, do the all pro rosters, and have those players participate in some skill competition stuff (fastest 40, strongest player, most accurate QB, field goal made from longest distance, ect.)

    That would eliminate risk to injury, be about as exciting as this current system (if not more), and would make making the roster mean a little more because fewer players would bail out of it if the didn’t have to actually play a game, and basically just had to go to Hawaii and do a few games with their friends and rivals.

  13. All players should get a bonus by making themselves available for the Pro Bowl and any that don’t make themselves available should not be eligible to be named to the game.

    Then you’ll only have to replace the Super Bowl team’s players and the ones who’ll go want to be there.

  14. Wish I could disagree with Mr. Veggie Burger, but I think the Pro Bowl is a farce. I don’t remember the last time I watched the thing, other than accidentally seeing it while flipping through channels. And I barely ever miss a full Sunday of games to my Wife’s chagrin.

  15. @chattanola…… Flag Football. I thought the EXACT same thing as I read this article. Not only does that take away the hitting, but it gives the players something that they want which is face-recognition. Win win for everybody.

    I also agree with bringing back the skills competition….I also miss the old school QB Challenge. That was always fun to watch.

  16. @giantsfan82 your an idiot! He’s not bitching he’s making a valid point here! He’s right their bodies are worn down from taking hits all season let’s throw you out there and watch you cry like a girl after just 8 games! Look make it a flag football game I’m good with that and most of the real fans would be as well. Bring back the skills competition as well and I guarantee you wouldnt here any complaining

  17. Players used to take pride in representing their team and conference and played hard. Now, all these over payed babies are happy to get the paid for trip to Hawaii but don’t want to entertain the fan that pays for the trip to Hawaii. On top of it all, when done playing the game, a game THEY choose to play, they and their families will sue the NFL for damages done to their body???? The NFL is becoming just like the NBA, little effort and a lot of drama!

  18. Here’s the problem: Nothing hinges on the Pro Bowl; the result of the game matters to no one, and that’s how it should be.

    No player is going to give 100% in this game because there is nothing riding on his effort. The result of the game doesn’t matter.

    So why ask players to give their all for a game that is meaningless? Many of the players are banged from the season, including those from the playoffs who lost last weekend, and are skipping the game. The players from the Super Bowl teams aren’t going to be there.

    I don’t expect these players to give their best effort, and I certainly wouldn’t want to see any of them (especially from my favorite team) get hurt and risk missing any part of next season.

    I like the suggestion of making it a flag football game.

  19. how can anyone be expected to take a post season exhibition game seriously? it’s a meaningless game. as far as dropping the losing teams pay, do you really think guys like Peyton Manning and JJ Watts care about 50, a hundred grand? that’s pocket change. if you don’t like it, do what I do, and don’t watch it. if you want to kill 3 hours Sunday afternoon, go see “django.” can’t go wrong with Tarentino.

  20. I agree with Foster, he made valid points for both. I still remember when Robert Edwards rookie running back for the Pats blew out his knee in some rookie beach football game and that ended his career in Hawaii. I doubt as an owner they probably don’t want their players out there, do you think the Vikings would want AP to get injured during the pro bowl and not be able to play next season.

    I understand both sides of the coin, now with that being said I don’t watch the Pro Bowl because I find it boring but as long as people watch the Pro Bowl will be played.

  21. you get paid a kings randsom to play this game. You also get $25,000 if you lose and $50,000 if you win. You also get a free vacation to Hawaii and treated like a king while you are there. But you don’t want to take a few hit’s for all of that. Give me a break.

  22. Other posters have hit it dead one. Do a skills competition in the afternoon, and a highlight/award show that night. THAT I would tune in to see. I haven’t wasted time on the Pro Bowl in 20 years.

  23. Scratch the pro bowl. I like the idea of having the Senior Bowl during this weekend to replace the pro bowl. And to include NFL players, have them do the skills competition before the game. This way, there are NFL players competing and there is a competitive football game to watch. At least the college seniors are out to prove something. At the end of the season and with millions of dollars invested in their bodies, NFL players aren’t going to play hard.

  24. if it’s not gonna be a full-speed game, throw in more trick plays and line guys up at positions they normally don’t get to play for a down or two. I’d love to see Jared Allen run a tight end route like he did for Kansas City back in the day. There are a great number of possibilities. Make it entertaining!

  25. Come on man. The Pro Bowl is what it is, your football fix when you are jonesing for some pigskin. I have watched for 20 years and I cannot recall the winner in any of the games. The players are playing what I like to call “kind of football” just as hard now as they always have. There is a reason why they play the Pro Bowl at the end of the season rather then at the halfway point like other major sports. Enjoy it for what it is until the Super Bowl comes next week. Top tier players playing on the same team with guys they most likely will never get to play with again. If you need to see some bone crunching hits this weekend you should tune in to an MMA event.

  26. Basically what Foster is saying is players want the Pro Bowl and the incentive bonuses that go with it but don’t want to actually have to play in the game. As a union employee this makes perfect sense to him. To the rest of society it makes no sense at all.

  27. Can’t play pick up games? Funny, I remember doing that all the time. Tackle, no pads. All we needed was a ball, a field and some spare time.

  28. It’s a meaningless game, so the players see no reason to put themselves at risk in a game based on high-speed collisions. The NBA and NHL games are played with about as much self-preservation (and zero defense), but it makes for a watchable game. When the linemen stand up and simply occupy each other for every snap, they are wasting space on the field.

    Eliminate the game itself and just have a skills competition. Even the NBA and NHL use those events for skills contests like 3-point shooting, slam dunks, shootouts, target shooting, fastest slapshot, etc. Then, instead of playing a half-effort football game, showcase the Senior Bowl and the future talent of the NFL.

  29. They should make it a 9 on 9 or 7 on 7 flag football game. 3 lineman. No helmets. Good exposure for the players and they will play hard when there’s no hitting. Throw in a new Audi R8 for each player on the winning team and you’ll have yourself a game to watch.

  30. And thats why he is sitting at home because he didnt want to take any more hits good luck in the lost season foster i mean post season… 16 games maybe be too much for him and some of these players.

  31. Of course u don’t wanna get hit full speed in a all star game then don’t go Yes it’s a long season but u only play what 15 min of the game with all the subs quick scores. I don’t see 10 min drives lol
    But I don’t see u complaining about cashing the game check for the event.

    50 g for winner 25g for loser

    Never seen a bunch a men cry about all star game u are professionals
    We all played picked football As kids until late teens sumtimes without pads so he’s wrong there. Just shut ur mouth n play

  32. thebigkahuna23 says:
    Jan 25, 2013 7:10 AM
    I’m always so confused when people complain about the effort they see in the pro bowl. Do you watch the NBA all star game to see lockdown defense? No.

    The difference is, basketball is a sport that can be played at half speed and still be exciting. You can have these fast break dunks and all that and still be playing half speed.

    Football is not a sport that can be played at half speed and still be entertaining. It needs to be played at full speed. If the players in the pro bowl are not committed to playing full, and I do not blame them, speed then ditch the game. Do the skill stuff instead.

  33. Just don’t bother with it, it’s not worth the effort.

    No one wants to go, everyone bails.

    Just let it die out. We’re not THAT football crazed

  34. All the drama over a game that doesn’t matter.
    It’s only an exhibition. Anyone who watches it thinking they’re going to see a real game is a fool.

  35. I love the idea of an “intramural” style 7v7 flag football game with players playing both ways. Romo playing “linebacker” or safety…Jeff Saturday rushing the passer. Each team has three subs. EVERY team plays and it becomes a tournament.

  36. Arian should at least produce some actual stories wherein players were severely hurt during the pro bowls of the past to prove his point. Hey Arian, Goodell took about as many hard hits last year as the actual guys outs on the field. And the defensive lineman might as well have been in the stands watching the game.

  37. I understand the players don’t want to go hard and play at 100% intensity. That said, can we at least see 90% intensity? Play safe, play smart but don’t make it a joke like the 2012 Pro Bowl was.

  38. The Ravens and Niners are just as worn down as any of these guys, but they’ll be at full speed next Sunday. These guys are just full of it.

  39. Goodell clearly hasn’t seen an nba or NHL all star game. No defense in those either. Get over it Rog.

  40. Foster is right, whether you like it or not. The pro bowl is an exhibition game. Fans who expect to see regular or post season quality games probably shouldn’t watch.

  41. The only solution is through payment differential. Winner take all wont work, but a 75-25 split certainly will. Then, the NFL might have to increase the players money pool. Increase it to $200,000. Each winner gets $150,000, loser gets $50,000. After a year or 2, advertisers will see that the fans will be drawn back in and the NFL can recoup the players added compensation.

  42. I don’t think the players are hearing what’s being said, not just by the commissioner, but by the fans as well. The Pro Bowl has started to look like kids playing in the back yard. Fans are booing you. They want to see you display your skills even if you’re not going helmet to helmet.

  43. To the guy who said he and his friends played pick up football with no pads till there late many of you were 200 plus pounds of muscle and good run a 4.4?..yea and sports sciences did an episode how the impact with pads on is worse then vs was worse..and I doubt you and your buddies hit like pro rugby players..soo..

  44. I’m sure this game is a money maker for the NFL or they wouldn’t have it, but I think it’s time for the Pro-Bowl to go. Nobody watches it. Nobody blames the players for not ‘giving it their all’ because who wants to risk a bad knee injury or some other serious injury for a meaningless game? Nobody enjoys the game because it’s a very vanilla offensive game planning for multiple reasons. The very top players don’t even get to play because of being in the Super Bowl or they just pass on the game.

    This is the one ‘All-Star’ game among all sports that makes no sense.

  45. I think he’s on to something here. From now on the pro bowl should be a pick up game between Goodell and the owners with the players acting as the refs and deciding who gets fined the next week.

    I’d watch.

  46. Ooh yea..those tough guys who wanna talk about playing pick up football..remember..we also don’t have a contract with incentives for goals reached for next season..Id kinda like to avoid an injury in a pointless game to keep my value..of course they wanna do it..but what is they get hurt..ask Alex Smith what could happen..

  47. Anyone who’s ever been an athlete on any level knows that the best way to avoid getting hurt is to play at 100% at all times.

    A vast majority of the most serious injuries in football don’t occur as a result of hard contact anyway- most knee injuries occur from either a planted leg moving the wrong way or someone rolling up on you, not from a vicious hit to the knee.

    What I am saying is this- these guys don’t want to avoid getting hit at the Pro Bowl because they might get hurt, they just don’t feel like getting hit.

  48. Make it a flag game still with all the live blocking. Increase the money for the winner and decrease the money for the loser. Remember…. no flag guarding!

  49. One guy got hurt a few years ago in a Rookie game that was on the beach. Tore up his knee. Did not come back. He was a RB for New England

  50. Fans just want to be entertained. For me it doesn’t matter all that much if it’s entertaining b/c it’s competitive or b/c they’re all laughing and joking around the entire game.

    I’d watch it if it was something fun to watch. Right now it’s not. imo b/c they’re trying to make it into something it will never be.

  51. I knopw 50k sounds like a lot, but that is nothing to all (okay, most) of these guys who are paid multiple millions per year. Why would someone like Arian Foster jeopardize their career and the tens of millions he has yet to make on one game that gives him $50,000. I don’t blame him at all.

  52. Like 3yrsnfl said, make it a flag game. I would rather watch that than the way the game is actually played now. Put random crap like smaller boxes to the sides of the field goal posts that if the kicker gets it in they get 4 points instead of 3. Might as well make it a gimmick game, no one gives a crap about it anyway.

  53. Its a farce, and every football fan knows they’re not going to go 100% out there.

    Maybe make it like the old “Battle of the Network Stars”

    Have them compete against each other in non football games and competitions. Can’t be any worse than the game itself.

  54. You guys are not grasping the amount of dollars at play here. Yeah, $150k is a good chunk of change, but these are guys (for the most part) who are looking at multi – million dollar salaries next season…… assuming they stay healthy.

    Would you go all out for $150k at the potential cost of losing $4M the next year? Or several times that over the course of a contract if you were to bust up your knee or something? Heck no.

    I like the idea of the skills competition or even something wacky like the flag football game with JJ Watt playing QB and throwing to Eli Manning. You can recognize the “Pro Bowlers” and entertain without the facade of a “real” game.

  55. Foster’s priorities are all wrong. As a competitor, he’s and all the other players are supposed to be honored to be selected to the Pro Bowl because it’s a vote that you are an elite player. You are thus supposed to play as such and play to win. Don’t give us nonsense about taking the hits because you’re built to take the hits.

  56. Then bonuses and free trips should be taken away from the players. They want the benefits of being a pro bowl player but they don’t want to participate? Hey I want a promotion and end of year bonus but I already hit my quota for the year so I’m just not gonna participate. I’ll be playing angry birds eating the free lunch.

  57. It’s real simple. Either the game is worth something like in baseball where the winning team gets home field advantage for that conference, in the World Series. In football, the alternative could be to give the conference that wins the Pro Bowl, essentially wins the coin toss for the opening kickoff in the Super Bowl. If that doesn’t work, scrap the game, and then have an Oscar Awards like ceremony, that gives out awards, to individuals for excellence in their respected categories. Have the writers and coaches vote after the Super Bowl has ended, that way we can see who is the true MVP. One could argue that Colin Kaepernick or Joe Flacco would be strong contenders for MVP. Flacco took out Manning and Brady in consecutive weeks, while Kaepernick ousted Rodgers and Ryan. Plus the awards ceremony could still be held in Hawaii. That way players could still bring their families along for a nice vacation. Peace.

  58. Here’s what else Goodell is not taking, the bonus money you get for making the team, the extra money you get if your team wins and the all expense paid vacation for the entire family in Hawaii.

    Please man up you little wimp! People are dying in this country so you can have the freedom to play ball.

  59. I hate what the pro bowl has become but some of these “stars” will be singing a different tune if Goodell finally decides to scrap the game. No pro bowl means no pro bowl selection and that means no “free” money in the form of contract incentives.


    The quarterback challenge was always fun to watch – I remember when randall cunningham threw the ball 80 yards. With today’s technology, they could expand the competition so much. Even punters and kickers would be interesting to watch.

    I think one of the most unique parts of the pro bowl game is seeing all the different helmets with the red or blue jerseys. If they did away with helmets for flag football, they could have the conferences wear home or away instead.

    One more thing – bring the game back to the week after the super bowl so all the players can participate. This time of year, the most spotlighted players are the ones on the two teams in the super bowl… and now they can’t even play.

  61. Sorry, but the Pro Bowl game is about as stupid as the Super Bowl winners playing the College All-Stars in pre-season back in the old days.

    These guys are professionals, playing for money, and you’re paying them 10k a piece, a monster discount over what they make in the regular season yet, you want them to go full speed? ridiculous. Pride? please, trip to Hawaii? most of them can pay to do that without putting their health on the line.

    You want to make the game competitive?
    Offer the winners 100k a man, and the losers get zero, and that should ramp it up a few notches.

  62. Is it a game or a showcase? Either way, the fact that all of those top tier players are on the same field is cool enough to keep it going.

    I see it as a Showcase, not quite a Harlem Globetrotters kind of thing, but I want to see flash more than I want to see players going all out.

    I could care less if they are going at half speed. To be honest, I don’t want my team’s (Colts) players getting hurt in what is a novelty game to begin with.

    It’s a trip to Hawaii after a long season and a chance to spend some time with opposing star players in a more casual setting. It is what it is.

  63. I agree with Arian on all but one point. Bringing tourism to Hawaii is not a major reason for keeping the Pro Bowl. I think they’ll manage just fine without it.

  64. I think the pro bowl should be played by players on each teams practice squad. We still vote for deserving players and honor their achievements, however they don’t play. This game would be exciting to watch and the players from the practice squad would play all out to get some game time on film.

  65. Just turn the game into a 7 on 7 flag football game. I mean people are there to see the stars. I don’t think they’ll mind too much if you get rid of the offensive and defensive linemen. Then again, Robert Edwards shredded his knee in a flag football game and was never the same again, so maybe flag football isn’t the way to go either.

  66. Isn’t the Pro-Ball a force thing unless there is a good reason not to play. I remember a couple years back a few people who didnt go ended up getting fined for not honoring the privilege?

  67. The only thing that will make NFL players want to go and want to hit would be cash. NFL makes millions every year, why not give each player on the winning team a million, losing team gets half a mill? i think that would be incentive enough to compete.

  68. Foster may not like those hits but I bet he likes cashing his checks for playing in them! Can’t have it both ways.

  69. If I was Goodell I wouldn’t change a thing about the Pro Bowl as far as the game goes. I would instead allow fans tweet plays and randomly select the plays and announce who called the play and where they are from, maybe even allow them to post a pic of themselves for everyone to see. Than I would attract more fans to the game by offering package deals where fans who bought tickets would be able to participate in Pro Bowl events leading up to the game.

    I live in Hawaii and I can tell you for a fact that the NFL has a strong fan base. Majority of the fans here don’t attend the game partly because the lack of effort put forth by players (which I don’t blame the players), the irrelevance of the game and that there is so much other things to do here. I have very little doubt they can sell out games here if they find a way to get fans who live here to attend the games.

  70. The Pro Bowl is a joke and to Foster’s point I can understand why they don’t want to risk career impacting injuries for a meaningless game.

    Then just don’t play the game and have skills competitions this weekend at the Super Bowl. Let the Hawaii fans host a real football game with west coast teams on a Monday night game during the season. Bet they would enjoy that more.

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