By B.J. Reyes
Never one to miss an opportunity, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann took an initial jab.
“We’ve been good for the Pro Bowl and for the NFL, there’s no reason to believe that we cannot be a part of the mix and a part of the attraction in future years for Pro Bowl,” he said at a news conference this afternoon.
He then added: “I wish I had a greater hand in the negotiation. State tourism dollars are at stake. I would have had a deal with the NFL were I in charge”
Gov. Linda Lingle, who is in charge, said only that she was disappointed, but respected the NFL’s decision.
Her entire statement issued this afternoon:
“I had the opportunity to speak with a senior NFL official earlier this month about their future plans for the Pro Bowl. Our discussion about the partnership between the NFL and the state were open, candid and positive.
“While I am disappointed the Pro Bowl likely will not be played in Hawaii in 2010, I respect the NFL’s decision to play the post-season all-star game in the same city as the Super Bowl, one week before the Super Bowl, on a one-year test basis.
“The senior leadership of the NFL told me explicitly that their decision had nothing to do with anything the state did or did not do, but was an opportunity to try something they had been talking about for years.
“I am optimistic that the Pro Bowl will return to Hawaii in 2011. I, along with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, will continue to maintain open and ongoing dialogue with the NFL. The state of Hawaii and the NFL have had a successful and collaborative 28-year relationship, and I am confident that this partnership will continue in the long-run.