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.
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