Roger Goodell: Future of Pro Bowl Depends On ’13 Effort

If  the level of play does not improve in next year’s NFL Pro Bowl, the league may eliminate the all-star affair altogether, according to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

“It’s really tough to force competition and after a long season to ask those guys to go out and play at the same level that they play is pretty tough,” Goodell said on SiriusXM NFL Radio’s “Town Hall” Monday. “And I made it very clear last year because I really thought the quality of the game last year was way below standards and if we’re going to play like that we should just eliminate the game.”

The AFC beat the NFC 59-41 in last year’s annual game in Hawaii, when players hardly put up any defensive effort and avoided much physical contact. It was more a flag football type of showing, one that most observers considered not worth playing.

“The players asked if they could take another crack at it and they wanted to try to work to make the game more competitive,” Goodell said. “Obviously, I support that but if we can’t accomplish that kind of a standard I’m inclined not to play it any longer.”

If the league decides to eliminate the Pro Bowl after this season there would still be a Pro Bowl team selected by players, coaches and fans.

Goodell also talked about scheduling more East Coast games involving West Coast teams in late-afternoon times and potential developmental leagues for players and officials.

But the 18-game regular season with a shortened preseason was most interesting.

“Our fans don’t like watching the preseason games, attending the preseason games, so we have to evaluate the season format,” Goodell said, “and that is one way of looking at it: 18-2. Or go to 16-2 or some other alternative; take two of those (preseason) games and make them more developmental.”

The NFL Players Association, citing injury concerns of players, is not in favor of an 18-game regular season.

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