There will be a Pro Bowl next season after all. And it's going to be in a familiar home.
The NFL and NFL Players Association announced Wednesday that the game will be held Sunday, Jan. 27, in Honolulu, Hawaii. The joint news release answers a few questions.
First, we know the game actually will be played. There were serious discussions about canceling the game after the quality of play deteriorated in recent years. It sounds like the players wanted to keep the game afloat. The television networks likely agreed. The game gets great ratings.
Second, the game will not be played in New Orleans. (It would have possibly conflicted with Mardi Gras, which would have been a lot of fun for us to cover). The league held the Pro Bowl in South Florida one week before the Super Bowl in 2010, breaking a 29-year streak of games in Hawaii. It returned to Hawaii the past two years.
But the statement doesn't answer the question we are most curious about: How are the league and players going to improve the game?
"The players have made it clear through the NFL Players Association that they would like the opportunity to continue to play the Pro Bowl in Hawaii," said Ray Anderson, the NFL executive vice president of football operations. "We will support the players on this initiative to improve the Pro Bowl.
"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. We look forward to working with the players toward the goal of improving the competitiveness of this season's game."
The league previously mentioned insurance, rule changes and changing the payout amounts as possible ways to improve the Pro Bowl product. Perhaps they can start fining players for not hitting during the game.