Notes: Roger Goodell sees progress on Pro Bowl

Roger Goodell said he appreciates the commitment from players to make the game better.
Frank Franklin II/AP
Roger Goodell said he appreciates the commitment from players to make the game better.

At least one key NFL executive thinks play improved at the Pro Bowl this year: commissioner Roger Goodell.

Goodell said Monday during a one-hour question and answer session on the social network Reddit that he thought the game improved from last year, when players were clearly not trying and were booed by fans in Hawaii.

‘‘I watched the game and noticed the improved quality of the game,’’ Goodell said.


The NFC dominated the AFC, 62-35, on Sunday in a game that had some highlight-quality plays but that quickly became lopsided.

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Goodell said he appreciates the commitment from players to make the game better.

‘‘We need to continually work to make our game better for the fans,’’ Goodell said. ‘‘I look forward to getting detailed player comment and input over the next few weeks.’’

Goodell interacted with fans during an ‘‘Ask Me Anything’’ session on Reddit, a popular message-board style website that allows users to vote posts and comments up or down. Goodell’s session drew hundreds of questions and thousands of responses; the commissioner answered 14 questions.

The league has said it plans to decide on the future of the Pro Bowl by April, when next season’s schedule is expected to be released.


Pro Bowl players immediately defended their play after the game, saying they tried hard and hoped the festivities would continue for future Pro Bowlers.

‘‘I think he got what he asked for,’’ said Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who set a Pro Bowl record with 10 catches.

‘‘I think guys were intense, I think we understood exactly what he wanted, guys were making plays all over the field,’’ Cruz said.

The game had its share of shenanigans, as well. Green Bay center Jeff Saturday lined up for one play on the AFC side even though he was a captain on the NFC team. That allowed him to snap one last ball to Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, his longtime teammate in Indianapolis before this season.

Houston defensive end J.J. Watt also lined up at wide receiver, getting two targets but recording no catches.

Ratings swoon


Also during the Reddit session, Goodell was asked about a USA Today poll that found that 61 percent of active players disapprove his job performance.

“I continually try to focus on issues that benefit the NFL in the long term, including, and most especially, our players,’’ said Goodell. “I truly respect our players and get tremendous feedback from them. They help us make better decisions. I look forward to working more closely with them in the future.”

Many of the players who gave Goodell the thumbs down cited the increase in fines for hits on defenseless players and his role in the investigation and discipline of the Saints’ bounty case. Those who gave the commissioner the thumbs up cited his role in making the NFL the country’s most popular sport and the fact that he has a thankless job.

Saints extend Loomis

Saints spokesman Greg Bensel said general manager Mickey Loomis has a contract that runs through 2017. Bensel said Loomis agreed to the deal last August but the team chose not to discuss it publicly until Monday, when the subject came up during media events connected to the Super Bowl. The length of Loomis’s current contract mirrors that of head coach Sean Payton, who agreed to his new contract late last month . . A Florida man has pleaded guilty to a fraud charge in a Los Angeles courtroom in connection with swindling about $2.3 million from Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney. Michael Stern of Miami entered his plea Monday to a single count. He faces up to 10 years in prison. when he’s scheduled to be sentenced May 6. Prosecutors said Stern and his lover, Eva Weinberg, a financial adviser to Freeney, bilked more than $2 million from the football player via wire transfers.