FORT BENNING, Ga., (Jan. 29, 2014) -- With the weather becoming colder here, the weather was perfect Sunday for the National Football League pro bowlers�' annual pilgrimage to Hawaii to play in the Pro Bowl.

While I normally don�'t watch the Pro Bowl, especially after last year�'s lackluster performance, I wanted to see if the new format had a chance to save the game from being eliminated.

Last year�'s game was a disappointment. The players put on such a dismal performance NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said at the time this year could be the final year of the game.

With the future of the game on the line, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning reached out to players to ask for their help to restore the game back to being a real football game, rather than a vacation where players just happen to play a game.

It worked.

While Pro Bowl players were chosen in the same manner they have been in the past few years, teams were chosen much the same as I remember teams being chosen when I played backyard football as a child.

Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders chose players, regardless of team or conference, to be on their team.

New rules, such as changing possessions in each quarter at the beginning of the quarter, along with allowing man-to-man coverage and stunts on defense, helped make the game more competitive.

All the players had to do was play the game with the same gusto as they played during the season -- and boy, did they.

The game was close and was decided in the final minute, unlike some of the blowouts from previous years.

Because of the format, players from the same team during the regular season were possibly on the opposing team, which made the game interesting -- and some of those players weren�'t holding back when they hit players from their own team from the regular season.

The format and the way the players played in this year�'s Pro Bowl may have very well saved the game, but only if the same amount of effort is put into future games.

Fans pay for tickets and expect a competitive game from their �"All Stars." If the game reverts back to a popularity contest where players only want a vacation in Hawaii, then the game should be eliminated.

Lining the pockets of high-priced players for a vacation and not put on a good game is not worthy of even being called a game, nor worth the time or the price of admission.

Page last updated Fri January 31st, 2014 at 00:00