HONOLULU — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is showing the Pro Bowl more love after previously threatening to cancel it if play didn't improve.
Goodell said Monday in an ESPN Radio interview that participants played harder and made the game very competitive.
"It was real football," Goodell said. "It was something that I give a lot of credit to the players."
Goodell said Domonique Foxworth, president of the players union, worked with players to come up with the idea of changing the game from its usual AFC versus NFC format. The new format, with a draft patterned much like fantasy football, gave players something to get excited about, he said.
"I believe it was a very, very positive step and I salute the players and I'm glad they had so much fun," Goodell said. "And I think fans had a fun time watching — I know I did."
NFL greats Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders picked teams during a two-day draft. Team Rice beat Team Sanders 22-21 on Sunday in Honolulu.
Ravens pick Kubiak: Former Texans coach Gary Kubiak was hired to be the Ravens' offensive coordinator. Kubiak, 52, replaces Jim Caldwell, who left to coach the Lions. The Ravens also hired Rick Dennison, Houston's offensive coordinator under Kubiak, as quarterbacks coach. "Gary Kubiak was on the list from the beginning," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "It became apparent this had a chance to be a fit for both coaches and the Ravens."
Browns: New coach Mike Pettine hired Jim O'Neil, with whom he worked in Buffalo, as defensive coordinator. Pettine, the former Bills defensive coordinator, also hired assistants Chuck Driesbach (linebackers), Brian Fleury (assistant linebackers) and Jeff Hafley (secondary) off of Buffalo's staff. Brian Angelichio, who spent the past two seasons with Tampa Bay, was named tight ends coach. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, Bobby Babich (assistant secondary) and Shawn Mennenga (assistant special teams) were retained from former coach Rob Chudzinski's staff.
Eagles: Bill Musgrave was named quarterbacks coach and Michael Clay defensive quality control coach.
Falcons: Coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff signed one-year contract extensions through the 2016 season and team president Rich McKay, a former Bucs executive, signed a four-year extension through May 2019. McKay also chairs the NFL's competition committee.
Giants: Danny Langsdorf was named quarterbacks coach as part of a shuffling on the offensive staff. Coach Tom Coughlin announced that Langsdorf will replace Sean Ryan, who will become wide receivers coach. Kevin M. Gilbride, who handled wideouts this season, will coach tight ends.