Keep Pro Bowl competitive? Players talk about it

KAHUKU, OAHU, HAWAII -- In the past, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that the Pro Bowl could be abolished if the quality of play was not improved upon. Players consistently try and balance the need to put on a good show for fans against their desire not to get injured.

With the game returning to Hawaii this season, the topic was on the forefront, especially with local media outlets advocating for a more realistic, game-like feel for the only game they get to see in person all year.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning said it was a point of discussion among players.

"Yeah we've talked about it," Manning said. "We want to go out there and put on a good show. We want to play well, so I think a lot of it is just having pride about this game, about our skill sets. I think guys want to go out there and be productive, play well and put on a good show. Obviously, our No. 1 goal is to stay safe, stay healthy, but we gotta compete and try and get this win."

Added Vikings running back Adrian Peterson: "As players, we understand that we want to keep each other safe. But we have a lot of alpha males over here, or else we wouldn't be here. So when those competitive juices get flowing..."

The Pro Bowl saw a significant number of alternates this season, although the guest list did not deter a horde of fans from showing up at practice Thursday. Richard Sherman, Peterson, Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., A.J. Green and Russell Wilson more than satisfy the faces of the NFL requirement at the base level and were the main attraction throughout the early portion of the week. In the end, is that more important to fans in Hawaii than a competitive game?

Six of the last 10 Pro Bowls have ended up as one-score games, and even if those one-score games err on the side of flag football, fans are still watching.

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