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NFL anticipates Pro Bowl decision in spring

Where will the Pro Bowl land in 2017? The NFL could be looking at a decision this spring.

In response to an inquiry made by the Houston Chronicle -- Houston submitted a bid to host the Pro Bowl ahead of this year's Super Bowl, much like Phoenix did back in 2015 -- NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy had this: "We have received interest from cities in the U.S. and from around the world."

He added: "No decisions have been made on the future of the Pro Bowl. We anticipate making a decision this spring."

Everything, from a skills competition to another departure from Hawaii, has been suggested in the wake of the 2016 Pro Bowl. As fun as it was to cover, the lack of quality play was obvious. During practice this year, Eli Manning said it was a point of discussion among players.

That did not manage to translate to the field, at least not to Goodell's liking.

"I think our biggest standard has to be what we expect from the NFL and what our fans expect from the NFL," Goodell said at his state of the union last week in San Francisco. "If it's not quality, it's not a real competition that we can be proud of, we have to do something different. That's my number one priority right now. I'm open to new ideas, I'm open to how we do it, but it's not the kind of game that I think we want to continue to have in its current format, based on what we saw last week."

So perhaps Houston, and a self-contained environment tied in with the Super Bowl, is the answer after all. The surprising thing about Hawaii was how many players ended up going straight from there to San Francisco for the Super Bowl, anyway. Marketing, social and business opportunities often make it the epicenter of every player's social calendar regardless of whether or not he's playing in the game.

Streamlining that process might make it easier, if a little less tropical.

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