SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – “The first thing I have to do is apologize to the Pro Bowl,” John Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew. “I thought it was going to be bad. I thought it was embarrassing. And this new format — I thought they were just making a farce out of the whole thing. And last night was as good a Pro Bowl as they’ve played in ten years.”

The squad captained by Jerry Rice scored a late TD to beat Deion Sanders’ team 22-21.

“If you get the defense to play relatively hard, you’ll have a football game,” Madden said, noting that’s what happened Sunday. “I think they had the right guys. Instead of getting old guys who had been great players and were on their way out the door, they got young guys… That’s what I learned from that game, that if you’re talking about the quality of play and how they ought to play, defense definitely sets the tone.”

The new format mixed AFC with NFC players, with teams selected in a captain’s draft.

“Football is the toughest all star game to play,” John said. “It’s never going to be great. And when you compare it to major league baseball and their all star game and the NBA and their all star game, it’s never going to be on that level. But it can be better than slop.” (7:20)

(Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM. And catch John’s extra report at 9:15 am Mondays and Fridays on KCBS during the NFL season.)

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