HONOLULU -- Although Roger Goodell is still a rookie NFL commissioner, he's a Pro Bowl veteran. Just look at the palm trees on his Hawaiian shirt.
Goodell arrived in Honolulu on Thursday night, just in time to take an abbreviated working vacation from his first year in charge of the league. After a quarter-century in various jobs that brought him to previous Pro Bowls, he's no stranger to Aloha Stadium and the enthusiastic fans who fill the stadium every year.
And though the locals annually worry about the possible departure of the league's all-star game for either the mainland or more far-flung locales, Goodell doesn't seem interested in moving the Pro Bowl out of paradise.
"I've been involved with this game for a number of years," Goodell said. "It's been a great relationship with the state, and we hope to continue that. ... We are talking about some things that might improve it, and it's going to be good for the state and good for us."
Aloha Stadium's future is in question, with government experts saying the unusual 32-year-old arena has major structural problems and extensive rust damage. State Comptroller Russ Saito recently said the stadium might have to be shut down for safety's sake in a few years if it isn't fixed.
Goodell has traversed the swaying metal walkways that connect the upper concourses, so he knows all about the unique Aloha Stadium experience. A bill before the Hawaii Legislature proposes tearing down the arena and building a new stadium with the proceeds from the sale of the land underneath it -- but any decision is likely several years away.
And as far as Goodell is concerned, the NFL can wait.
"We want to make sure our game is played in the greatest stadiums, and obviously they have to be safe," Goodell said. "That's important to us. I have heard there's some discussion about a new stadium, and we would obviously be willing to engage in those discussions also."