Hawaii says goodbye to Pro Bowl — for now

Fans in Hawaii aren’t ready to say goodbye to the Pro Bowl.

After the NFC’s 30-21 victory over the AFC on Sunday in Honolulu, the Pro Bowl will be played somewhere other than Hawaii for the first time since 1980. Next year’s game will be played at Dolphin Stadium in Miami in 2010.

The league decided to move the game to the Super Bowl site the week before the big game to try to increase interest in the Pro Bowl. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he would like to bring the Pro Bowl back to Hawaii on a rotating basis.

The move was emotional for some Hawaiian fans, who told the Honolulu Advertiser that they had grown up with the game:

    “My family and I have been coming to the Pro Bowl ever since I can remember,” said Patriots fan Glenn Mendoza of Ewa Beach. “It’s not easy for local fans to watch their teams play. Fans on the Mainland can go to games all the time, this is the one game we get a year.

There also were concerns about having a Pro Bowl without the stars from the Super Bowl teams, who will participate in the big game the next weekend:

    The move, the NFL maintains, is to help enhance the Pro Bowl. But you really have to wonder since the all-star game will be missing some of its brightest stars and fan favorites, those on the Super Bowl rosters.
    Had that been the case yesterday, not only would there have been no opportunity to view the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner, there would have been no Fitzgerald and his five catches for 81 yards. Which might have meant nothing to write home about in a game in which he provided the biggest highlights, a 46-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees that brought fans to their feet at the first-half gun and the go-ahead score, a 2-yard pass from Eli Manning, with 4 minutes, 7 seconds left.
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