While the final decision of the future of the Pro Bowl game is ultimately decided by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the players continue to speak out on behalf of the game stating that coming to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl is a very nice reward for those players who were the best at their positions but were unable to make the Super Bowl.
“I hope we keep it here and keep it here for a long time,” Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph said after winning Pro Bowl MVP in a 62-35 NFC win on Sunday.
Rudolph called the award icing on a cake of being named to the roster and getting to spend time with other Pro Bowl players in Hawaii.
“That was the big emphasis this week, making sure that we were competitive and I think we showed that,” he said.
Even though the NFC won in a blowout, that didn’t stop most guys from competing very hard. The NFC was just a much better squad this year, especially on offense.
“Guys were competing, guys wanted to win and guys want to keep the game here,” Rudolph insisted. “That was the point before the game. We want to keep this game rolling for future Pro Bowlers.”
Watt, who had 20½ sacks for Houston, lined up as a wide receiver on the AFC’s third play from scrimmage, but missed a pass from Peyton Manning. He was targeted one more time, but didn’t make a catch.
He later showed a television camera a bloody left pinkie, joking with NBC broadcasters that it was proof that the players were trying.
“Hey, Commish, we’re playing hard,” Watt said as he showed his finger.
Watt said after the game that he wanted to stay in even as things got lopsided.
“I’m sure some guys thought about (letting up), but I’m not going to sit out,” Watt said. “I like to play football, it’s fun, so I just tried to enjoy it.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has expressed (in great length) his willingness to drop the Pro Bowl game all together, especially after last year’s game where it seemed like the players didn’t want to play at all.
We will see how this pans out. Hopefully Goodell will decide that the Pro Bowl is important enough to keep around in Hawaii. It is great for the local economy, and the NFL players seem to love coming out here every year. It would be a shame to stop having it.