He never played in the Pro Bowl during his active time in the NFL, but when NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth heard that the league was considering canceling the exhibition game, he decided he had to save it.
"It wasn't something I cared about too deeply," he told ThePostGame. "But after talking to some players who said they really loved the Pro Bowl and wanted to keep it, in a meeting with the league, I added some thoughts (on how to improve the game)."
To his surprise, the league took them.
The NFL announced Wednesday that the Pro Bowl would have a new format: There will be no NFC vs. AFC, no kickoffs, "two-minute drills" at the end of every quarter (instead of the half) and a quicker play clock.
Because the sport lacks the same type of skills that work so well for baseball and basketball in their All-Star games Foxworth said his idea was to highlight the more exciting parts of football. He said he's also hoping that eliminating automatic spots for NFC and AFC teams will inspire more fans to get involved in the voting to avoid having all the spots going to teams with larger fan bases (i.e. Dallas, New York).
"That's something we thought about," he said of the chance that the Pro Bowl would be overloaded with the members of the same few teams. "But we'll see how it turns out. Fans have to vote and maybe that fear will motivate some of the smaller market teams to get involved and vote and be more aggressive."
Whether it will be enough to save the Pro Bowl is still in the air. Foxworth admits it's all just tinkering to see if anything will work. After the quality of the play in 2012's Pro Bowl drew the ire of fans and Roger Goodell, the commissioner threatened that something had to change.
"I know players love to be in Hawaii but we have to start with the quality of what we're doing," Goodell said on an ESPN radio show at the time. "If the fans are responding negatively to what we're doing, we better listen. And that was my message."
Foxworth said he gathered from his discussions with the league that fans didn’t know “how close we were from not having a Pro Bowl.”
"I hate to sound so matter-of-fact," he said of the rules changes. "But either it works, or it doesn't."
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