3:21 p.m. CDT, May 30, 2012
With a promise to make the Pro Bowl more competitive, the NFL and its players union said Wednesday the game will be played next year in Hawaii.
The fate of the game was uncertain as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had said earlier this year that scrapping the exhibition was a possibility after the 2012 edition drew criticism for a lack of intensity and many players opting out.
We have had many discussions with the players in recent years about the Pro Bowl and they recognize that the quality of the game has not been up to NFL standards, Ray Anderson, the league's executive vice president of football operations, said in a statement.
We look forward to working with the players toward the goal of improving the competitiveness of this season's game.
Unlike other North American sports which play their All-Star games midseason, the NFL's showpiece is held at the end of the regular season, a week before the Super Bowl.
While being selected for the game is one of the top honors in the NFL, participation is voluntary and the event is often a low-quality affair as players do not want to be injured heading into the offseason, and so they have no incentive to play hard.
Played almost exclusively in Hawaii for the last three decades, the game has been criticized as amounting to little more than an exhibition.
The players believe that the Pro Bowl is an important tradition, said NFL Players Association (NFLPA) President Domonique Foxworth.
We worked hard with the league to make sure the best players in the NFL are honored for their achievements on the field.
Neither the NFL nor NFLPA explained how the game, which will be played Jan. 27 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, would be made more competitive.