BBAO: Pro Bowl changes coming

We're Black and Blue All Over:

On the morning of Super Bowl XLVI, someone finally got around to asking NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about the quality of the Jan. 29 Pro Bowl, which Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers brought attention to by saying that some players "embarrassed themselves" with their lack of effort.

Goodell told ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning" that he was also upset about how the game was played. Goodell said the Pro Bowl will either be improved, the structure changed or the game eliminated all together.

Goodell: "I really didn't think that was the kind of football that we want to be demonstrating for our fans. And you heard it from the fans. The fans were actively booing in the stands. They didn't like what they were seeing. … 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 considering eliminating the game if that's the kind of quality game we're going to provide."

The NFL Players Association issued a statement in support of maintaining the Pro Bowl, which brings winning players an additional $50,000 and losers $25,000. But I'll be interested to see if the NFL can find a way to convince players to go harder in a meaningless all-star game, or if they will eliminate the game and replace it with something interesting but less dangerous. Regardless, kudos to Goodell for acknowledging a disappointing but obvious development.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Rodgers' MVP Award: "The only troubling thing is how Rodgers ended his season. He not only struggled against the Giants' pass rush, he looked as bad and unsure as he did during his earlier days as [Brett] Favre's understudy. Whether that one game was an anomaly or a preview of things to come when a season is on the line for the Packers is a question that still needs to be answered."

  • The Minnesota Vikings are continuing to work on a plan to build a stadium next door to the Metrodome to prevent the need for a three-year stay at TCF Bank Stadium, according to Mike Kaszuba of the Star Tribune.

  • Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com concludes his postseason grades for the Vikings.

  • Re-signing receiver Calvin Johnson is going to be tricky for the Detroit Lions, writes Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.

  • The Lions could be competing in the Super Bowl next season, according to Philip Zaroo of Mlive.com.

  • The Super Bowl wasn't the same for President Barack Obama without the Chicago Bears in it, according to a tweet to Obama's official Twitter page.

  • Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk beat out Bears cornerback Charles Tillman for the NFL Man of the Year Award. More from AFC North colleague Jamison Hensley.