From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL will consider dropping the Pro Bowl if the level of play doesn't improve, Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday night.Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio's "Town Hall," Goodell agreed with host Michael Strahan that last January's Pro Bowl "was embarrassing.""If we cannot accomplish that kind of standard (of high play), I am inclined to not play it," Goodell said. "It is really tough to force competition, and after a long season, to ask those guys to go out and play at the same level they played is really tough."The league still would select a Pro Bowl team through voting by players, coaches and fans, because it is an honor, but "just not play the game," he said.The Pro Bowl will take place in January, a week before the Super Bowl, after the players lobbied to keep it, promising to upgrade their performances. Goodell and others were disappointed in the quality of last year's Pro Bowl, won 59-41 by the AFC and missing any semblance of hard hitting.More from Goodell:--The league is working on scheduling more East Coast games involving West Coast teams in late-afternoon slots to avoid what amounts to a 10 a.m. kickoff for the western teams."Several of our teams on the West Coast have raised that and we have been studying it," he said. "We have tried to put as many of those games on the East Coast at 4 p.m. You can imagine the thousands of different issues you have to put into the schedule. But the 10 o'clock starts are pretty tough."--He praised teams for making it possible for fans to text concerns about unruly behavior to stadium security."Allowing you to text to security personnel rather than having to get an usher, that is a plus to fans," said Goodell, who recently sat with his family in the stands at a Titans-Vikings game in Minneapolis. "The arrests are down and ejections are up. Our teams are ejecting fans who are unruly. And arrests (being) down is an indication that fans are getting the message."--Explained the NFL's studies of potential developmental leagues for players and officials. He said if the schedule format ever drops two preseason games, there will be more discussions on the subject because teams will have a more difficult time determining the makeup of rosters.He added the NFL is looking for more ways to train on-field officials and for them to have interaction with players, citing college football, Arena Football and the CFL as places that could happen.Going to an 18-game regular season with two exhibition games remains a point of contention with the players' union. But Goodell admitted to having "an issue with the preseason.""Our fans don't like watching the preseason games, attending the preseason games, so we have to evaluate the season format," he said, "and that is one way of looking at it: 18-2. Or go to 16-2 or some other alternative; take two of those (preseason) games and make them more developmental."--Said three regular-season games abroad is not out of the realm of possibility. Next year, for the first time, the league will play two games in London.As for a franchise abroad, he added: "I wouldn't at all be surprised some day to see us have a team in London."
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Who needs to reach the end zone when you have Le'Veon Bell chewing up yards and the clock, and Chris Boswell setting an NFL playoff record with six field goals?
Throw in a stingy Pittsburgh defense for most of Sunday night, and a multitude of mistakes by Kansas City, and the Steelers' 18-16 victory sent them into the AFC championship game.
The Steelers (13-5) needed to hold off a last-ditch threat by the Chiefs (12-5) before advancing to face New England next Sunday night for a spot in the Super Bowl. The Patriots won at Pittsburgh 27-16, but Ben Roethlisberger was injured and didn't play.
"I think it's going to be a showdown," Bell said. "Two great quarterbacks going head to head. Two of the best teams in the AFC. It's time to settle it next week."
Since 2001, the Patriots and Steelers have combined to win nine AFC titles.
Spencer Ware's 1-yard touchdown run took Kansas City within 18-16. The Chiefs at first converted the 2-pointer to tie it, but tackle Eric Fisher - the first overall selection in the 2013 draft - was penalized for holding. The next try failed.
With 2:43 remaining, Justin Gilbert misplayed the kick return and was tackled at the Pittsburgh 5. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 7 yards on third down and Pittsburgh then ran out the clock, securing a ninth straight victory for the Steelers. The Chiefs have not won a home playoff game since 1994, losing five in a row.
The scoring started furiously in the opening minutes, then the game became a kicking exhibition by Boswell, who also had six field goals in the regular season against Cincinnati. And Bell put on a virtuoso running performance, patiently finding holes and then exploding through them. He added a team-record 170 yards rushing to the 167 he had in a win over Miami last week.
"The coaches put a lot of trust in me to get the job done," Bell said of his 30 carries. "Just run hard. Just picked my spots where I could and run hard."
The Steelers became first team to win a playoff game without a TD since eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis in the 2006 AFC divisional round at Baltimore.
Using a no-huddle attack almost to perfection early on, the Steelers drove deep into Kansas City territory. But they bogged down inside the 5 and Boswell made a 22-yard field goal.
The Chiefs were just as efficient on a six-play march capped by receiver Albert Wilson lining up in the backfield, then slipping uncovered into the end zone for a 5-yard score.
Pittsburgh's answer came on a 52-yard heave to All-Pro Brown, who somehow was covered by linebacker Justin Houston. That led to Boswell's second field goal, a 38-yarder. He added a 36-yarder to cap a 14-play drive on which Pittsburgh again barely huddled.
The Steelers got to the Kansas City 5, where Frank Zombo leaped to deflect Roethlisberger's throw, and All-Pro safety Eric Berry - burned for 26 yards on the previously play - picked it off in the end zone.
Boswell's fourth field goal, from 45 yards, made it 12-7 at the half. His 43-yarder, setting the franchise record for a postseason game and tying the league mark of five, came on Pittsburgh's first series of the second half. A 43-yarder midway in the fourth quarter gave Boswell the NFL record.
"It's just about doing my job," Boswell said. "Coming out here, put it through the yellow pipes. Don't really think too much. Don't think like I'm the guy or anything. I'm just doing my job and doing my one-eleventh for the team."
Kansas City's Cairo Santos got in on the kicking act with a 48-yarder to make it 15-10. At that point, 10 seconds from the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs were outgained 333 yards to 150.
Switching the game from noon local time to an evening kickoff to avert an ice storm had no effect on the crowd. Fans arrived early, tailgated in the rain as the worst of the storm never hit the area. But fog rolled into Arrowhead Stadium in the second quarter, obscuring some views from on high. Not that what was going on was worth watching for Chiefs fans.
Bell rushed for almost as many yards (101) in the first half as the Chiefs gained (106). ... Boswell's four first-half field goals tied the team record for an entire playoff game. ... Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce had a rough game, including a big drop and a 15-yard roughing penalty in the third period.
Steelers: Head to New England for a shot at making the Super Bowl.
SACRAMENTO -- It’s coming undone. The Sacramento Kings dropped another one at home Sunday night, falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder by a final of 122-118. The Kings are now just 1-5 on their season-long seven-game homestand and they’ve trailed by 14 or more points in each game.
Russell Westbrook pushed the ball every chance he got and when he wasn’t scoring at the rim or getting fouled, he was burying 3-pointers. The perennial MVP candidate posted a 36-point, 10-assist, 11-rebound triple-double in the win. He also turned the ball over six times, but his ability to get his team out in transition buried the Kings.
With all eyes on Westbrook, Victor Oladipo found plenty of room to operate. The Thunder’s starting shooting guard scored 17 of his 23 points in the first half.
Big man Enes Kanter had a nice night, hitting Sacramento for 29 points and 12 rebounds off the Thunder bench and Alex Abrines hit 3-of-4 from deep on his way to 13 points.
DeMarcus Cousins struggled from the field early on, but got his game on track late. Sacramento’s star big posted 31 points, 11 rebounds and handed out seven assists, but it wasn’t enough to get the Kings over the hump.
Rudy Gay came out aggressive against Oklahoma. The 30-year-old forward finished the night with 22 points on 6-for-18 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Darren Collison added 21 points and two assists. Anthony Tolliver knocked in both of his 3-point shots on his way to 10 points and Garrett Temple added eight points, four rebounds and three assists as the Kings fell to 16-24 on the season.
Westbrook is a star, but Kanter was the game changer in this one. The big out of Kentucky lit the Kings up in post. His seven offensive rebounds were huge and so was his 9-of-11 shooting from the free throw line.
The Kings came out flat in the first half and trailed by as many as 17. They had opportunities in the second half, even cutting the lead to three with 26.5 seconds remaining, but the huge early deficit proved too much.
Ty Lawson turned his left ankle late in the game and did not return. Big man Steven Adams hit his head in the early third quarter and underwent tests for a concussion.
Sacramento finishes their season-long seven-game homestand Wednesday when the Indiana Pacers make their way to the Golden 1 Center. Following the game, the Kings leave Sacramento, embarking on an eight-game road trip beginning Friday evening with the Memphis Grizzlies.