Cards president lobbied for Pro Bowl in AZ

April, 10, 2014
4/10/14
11:30
AM ET
In an effort to revive the Pro Bowl, Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill took matters into his own hands.

More than a year ago, Bidwill approached NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell with the idea of holding the event in Arizona, a week before Super Bowl XLIX, Bidwill said Wednesday afternoon. At the time, the future of the Pro Bowl was unstable and Goodell was reported to be considering canceling the game.

Goodell liked Bidwill's idea and for the third time ever and the second time since the NFL-AFL merger, the NFL will bring the Pro Bowl mainland. It'll be played Jan. 25, 2015 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., a week before the Super Bowl.

The Pro Bowl was last played in the contiguous United States in 2010, the Sunday before Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida.

Bidwill, who helped spearhead the effort to land the Pro Bowl in the desert with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, said he studied the 2010 Pro Bowl. He saw what worked and where the game needed improvement. It's still undecided whether the host committee will begin its Super Bowl activities earlier to help welcome the Pro Bowl crowd.

As for the financial toll and impact on the city, Bidwill declined to expand on how much the game would cost Arizona and would only say it should add to the economic impact of the week.

While it's happened twice, Bidwill doesn't see the Pro Bowl-Super Bowl tandem becoming a trend, especially when the Super Bowl is played in a cold-weather city.

"I think there's a special relationship with the state of Hawaii," Bidwill said. "I think there's something that the players and coaches really enjoy about being in a warm-weather environment."

The Pro Bowl will return to Hawaii in 2016, and the NFL and the state have an agreement to hold the 2017 game there, but "final confirmation of the game will be made at a later date," the NFL stated in a release.

During Bidwill's meetings with Goodell, the commissioner solicited Bidwill's opinion on the two major changes to the 2014 Pro Bowl -- the unconferenced format and having two retired Pro Bowlers as captains.

Bidwill said more changes will be coming to the Pro Bowl in 2015 but wouldn't elaborate on what they will be.

Whatever they are, Bidwill hopes his players won't get a chance to experience them.

"Hopefully they're eliminated from the Pro Bowl because they're a participating team in the Super Bowl," Bidwill said. "That's the present plan."

Josh Weinfuss

ESPN Arizona Cardinals reporter

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