HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With the future of the Pro Bowl seemingly in jeopardy, sources are reporting that the 2013 all-star contest featuring the NFL's best will likely be played in New Orleans --if at all.
On Sunday morning, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN that the future of the Pro Bowl has been a topic of discussion amongst league officials following the negative reaction from the game this year. Goodell says that he and NFL Player's Association head DeMaurice Smith have even had informal conversations about canceling the Pro Bowl altogether.
"We're either going to have to improve the quality of what we're doing in the Pro Bowl, or consider other changes, or even consider eliminating the game, if that's the kind of quality of game we're going to provide," Goodell said on ESPN.
"I think the game was fine to me," said Hawaii football fan Todd Matsumoto, who went to this year's game at Aloha Stadium. "It might've been a little slow, but you still get to see all the Pro Bowlers who come to Hawaii, get their autographs, you know, bring your kids out, tailgate."
"I still had a lot of fun, even though the players, you know, they claim didn't play up to par," said Guy Yoshimura. "It's still exciting. You know, we don't have professional football, so for them to come and spend that whole week and we can see them out, was great."
"The kids love it, they get to see real NFL players," said Rodney Kim, who didn't go this year but still supports keeping the game in Hawaii. "We don't have an NFL team here, so it's our chance to get involved with the NFL."
NBC Sports' ProFootballTalk is reporting that if the game is played, it will likely be in New Orleans, Louisiana, the site of Super Bowl XLVII.
Two years ago, the Pro Bowl was played in Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida the weekend before Super Bowl XLIV. It was the first time since 1980 that the game had been played outside of Honolulu's Aloha Stadium.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie infamously dissed the game during a press conference last June, when he said, "You can't do things like give four million bucks to a nine-billion-dollar football industry and not give any money to children."
But he softened his tone at a Pro Bowl news conference last month. "Despite any stories to the contrary, the relationship (with the NFL) is solid and we hope is going to stay that way for the benefit of everybody," he said at that time.
But for the commissioner, the game may not be good enough to play anywhere.
"I know players love to be in Hawaii, but we have to start with the quality of what we're doing," Goodell said. "And if the quality of what we're doing and the fans are responding negatively to what we're doing, we'd better listen."
But Yoshimura isn't responding negatively. "As long as we're still happy watching them, that's all that matters, right?," he said.