"We realize it's an all-star game," Goodell said Tuesday afternoon as the league concluded its one-day spring meetings here. "But we also realize that our fans expect more.
"That's the issue."
This year's game, won by the NFC by a 59-41 count, was the second highest scoring contest in Pro Bowl history. It produced 1,142 total yards and was criticized even by some of the participants for the lack of effort or half-hearted performances from many of the players. The game, essentially, devolved into a seven-on-seven drill, with little physicality.
ESPN reported last month that the league could suspend the game. Goodell on Tuesday did not dispute that possibility. He emphasized that a decision on the game's future has not been made and said that, if the 2013 Pro Bowl is played, it will be in either New Orleans or Honolulu.
New Orleans is the site of Super Bowl XLVII.
The NFLPA has said players prefer to have the Pro Bowl game, citing its tradition and role as part of the fabric of the sport. But the NFLPA will have to convince its constituents that the game is more than a glorified touch-football exercise.
Said the commissioner: "You've got to make it better or not play it."