Board finally sees light in Pro Bowl


POSTED: Sunday, March 08, 2009

After a mortifying burp more than a week ago, Hawaii Tourism Authority board members have taken a deep breath and agreed to a contract for the return of the Pro Bowl to Aloha Stadium in 2011 and 2012. The National Football League's return is a relief to Hawaii's tourism industry, sports fans and football stars who have looked forward to a week in paradise at the end of their seasons.

The board's whimsical insistence that the Pro Bowl continue to be played on the Sunday following the Super Bowl would have risked losing the all-star game forever. The NFL will experiment next year by staging it a week before and in the same stadium as the Super Bowl at Miami.

The board members who voted against the Pro Bowl's return were right in maintaining that the change of timing is a mistake. But they were meddlesome in insisting that it be played after instead of before the Super Bowl. HTA is not in the business of scheduling football games from one week to another.

If the NFL concludes that scheduling the Pro Bowl to precede the Super Bowl was a bad idea, the contract with the Tourism Authority can be changed to the old scheduling pattern.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann was furious about the board's initial rejection of the pre-Super Bowl warmup of all-stars from teams that came short of the championship match. He and Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona were instrumental in turning the board's 4-6 vote into a 9-1 vote in favor of the contract with the league.