Local: 503.250.1080
    Toll Free: 866.358.1080
| More
National Football League
Scoreboard|Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions

Goodell: Pro Bowl improved from previous years

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

By OSKAR GARCIA

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is showing the Pro Bowl more love after previously threatening to cancel it if play didn't improve.

Goodell said in an ESPN Radio interview Monday (http://es.pn/1gkbauy ) that participants played harder and made the game very competitive.

"It was real football," Goodell said. "It was something that I give a lot of credit to the players."

Goodell said Domonique Foxworth, president of the player's union, worked with players to come up with the idea of changing the game from its usual AFC versus NFC format. The new unconferenced format based partly on pickup games and fantasy sports gave players something to get excited about, he said.

"I believe it was a very, very positive step and I salute the players and I'm glad they had so much fun," Goodell said. "And I think fans had a fun time watching - I know I did."

NFL greats Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders picked teams during a two-day draft. Team Rice beat Team Sanders 22-21 on a touchdown and 2-point conversion with 41 seconds left.

The game was more defensive than in recent years with eight turnovers and nine sacks. Neither team scored in the third quarter or for the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter.

"Guys were competitive and we're having fun, but at the same time the competitive juices get going and you want to win," Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly said on the field after the game. Kuechly had a game-high 12 tackles, including 11 solo tackles.

The future of the Pro Bowl is unclear. The NFL hasn't committed to holding future games or said whether the game will stay in Hawaii, where Pro Bowls have been held 34 of the last 35 years.

"Here, right here," Kuechly said when asked where future Pro Bowls should be held, echoing comments from other players who say the game and festivities offer a reward for players and their families and a chance to get to know other stars throughout the league.

"We're going to play regardless, but I think it's easiest to play it here," Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles said.

Tourism officials in Hawaii have proposed several options to keep the game in Honolulu, including alternating years with other cities.

Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia

Updated January 27, 2014

127 © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

The Fan's Top Stories

Former Ducks RB LaMichael James out for 49ers with Dislocated Elbow


Former Ducks RB LaMichael James suffered a dislocated left elbow at 49ers training camp yesterday and is expected to miss the entire preseason...More

Mariners lose rubber game to Orioles 3-2


 (AP) Throwing strikes is not necessarily always a good thing, as the Seattle Mariners discovered Sunday. Manny Machado lifted a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the 10th inning and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Mariners 3-2...More

Oregon Pac-12 favorite with Mariota back


(AP) Although Marcus Mariota knew he would be under a spotlight when he stepped onto the famed Paramount Studios lot Wednesday, the Oregon quarterback is getting quite comfortable in his starring role. More.

NCAA enforcement director defends work


(AP) Jonathan Duncan understands that a perfect NCAA enforcement division won't catch every cheater in college sports. He still believes his team is getting the job done. More.

Chiefs, running back Jamaal Charles reach deal


(AP) Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles has agreed to a contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs announced the deal Wednesday night. More.

Blazers F Robinson has thumb surgery


(AP) Portland Trail Blazers forward Thomas Robinson has undergone surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. More.

Manziel's jersey top seller in NFL


(AP) Second on Cleveland's depth chart, Johnny Manziel already tops one NFL list. The popular rookie quarterback, who will begin his first training camp this week as a backup . . . more.