Pro Bowl To Stay In Hawaii For '13 Season; NFL Considers Pickup Game Format
The NFL Pro Bowl will return to Aloha Stadium next year, but Hawaii's "nearly exclusive hold on the NFL all-star game over four decades may be loosening," according to Ferd Lewis of the HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday at the conclusion of the league's owners meeting said, "Our agreement with Hawaii is just for the coming year, but I would expect that we will continue to be in Hawaii on some kind of rotational basis." Lewis noted outside of the '10 game, when it was "experimentally packaged with the Super Bowl in South Florida, Hawaii has hosted the Pro Bowl every year since 1980." The NFL previously has said that it will "consider similar packages in the future (HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER, 3/21). ESPN's John Clayton reported NFL owners this week “discussed numerous changes in the game, including one in which the selected players would be involved in a ‘pickup game’ concept.” Goodell said that the system for choosing which players participate in the Pro Bowl “won't change, but some consideration has been given to having team captains select their rosters, rather than an AFC vs. NFC format." But a source “questioned whether the owners would go for such a different idea.” This format would include team captains "picking the players for their teams," and the selection process “could be involved in a television show a week or so prior to the Pro Bowl" (ESPN.com, 3/20). Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said, "I like the idea of moving it around and I like the drafting of players. I think people would tune in for that.” L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke: "The league is trying to stay ahead of the curve on this and trying to fill the stands up. Good for the league” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 3/20).
RULES ARE RULES: The AP’s Barry Wilner reported the NFL is “looking to make the Rooney Rule more effective," and that one focal point will be "reinstating a symposium program that was primarily focused on coaches.” Goodell said that the symposium “likely will have some potential GM candidates also attend.” One team “suggested to Goodell there needs to be more flexibility in the interviewing process.” Teams still involved in the playoffs are “very reluctant to grant permission to interview their personnel, although the NFL has established a small window for those interviews early in the postseason” (AP, 3/20). Meanwhile, in Boston, Shalise Manza Young notes the NFL's "tuck rule" yesterday at the owners meeting was "stricken from the rule book by a 29-1 vote.” The Steelers “voted against eliminating the rule, and the Redskins joined the Patriots as teams abstaining.” The Raiders “showed some good humor Wednesday when the message, ‘Adios, Tuck Rule,’ was posted on the team’s Twitter page after the results became public” (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/21).
SAFETY IS THE TOP PRIORITY: The NFL yesterday passed a new rule banning runners from lowering their head and using the crown of the helmet to hit defenders. NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano said, “There are some who think that the new helmet rule will change the game.” The vote to approve the new rule was 31-1, with the Bengals the only team to vote against it. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said team Owner Mike Brown “feels like we in some ways are moving too fast in making change." Lewis: "What he would like to see happen is us be more proactive to talk about the positives and how we have made changes and continue to further player safety and how safe the game is becoming as opposed to keep going the opposite direction.” But Falcons President Rich McKay said, "We're not looking for places in which there's incidental contact with the helmet. We're looking for places where players decided in the open field, outside of the tackle box, that they're going to deliver a blow by lowering their head and using the crown of the helmet." Texans President Rick Smith: "Our players understand that we are committed to their health and their safety" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 3/20).