NFL discussing future of Pro Bowl, including possible elimination of the tackle game

ATLANTA -- NFL owners are discussing the future of the Pro Bowl at this week's league meetings.

The league has spoken to players and NFL teams and is now exploring alternatives to the weeklong Pro Bowl celebration, which could include the elimination of the traditional tackle game, commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed Tuesday.

No vote is needed to approve a change. The NFL, while exploring this with players and television partners, hopes to have a decision this summer.

Goodell says the NFL will consider turning the Pro Bowl into a celebration of players rather than playing an actual game.

"I think the conclusion [of discussions] was that the game itself doesn't work," Goodell said Tuesday. "And we need to find another way to celebrate our players."

The annual all-star game, broadcast on ESPN, has suffered in recent years because of players backing out and the lack of competition due to injury concerns.

The NFL has played a traditional Pro Bowl game in some fashion since 1938. Festivities surround the game, including dodgeball, throwing competitions and skills challenges in the past.

Goodell said the league concluded the game was ineffective after talks with the union -- and Goodell talking personally with several players.

"[The goal is] to celebrate that these are our Pro Bowl players, the best players in our league, and give them an opportunity to celebrate that with our fans," Goodell said. "We've talked about some of the events around the Pro Bowl are really, extremely popular, whether the quarterback challenge or some of the other events. So those are some of the things we will continue to discuss."