Thanks goodness in a few weeks we’ll feel an NFL Draft
The National Football League and the New England Patriots are still keeping us entertained during this horrible health crisis, aren’t they?
That’s why were so hoping the NFL wouldn’t push back the league year, etc. and delay the start of free agency.
Otherwise we’d still be dealing with the Brady Watch and all the foolishness that was coming from that.
And now, we are just less than a month away from, other than the first few days of free agency, the NFL’s trademark event – the NFL Draft.
According to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the show must go on, even though it won’t be in Las Vegas, as a public event. That’s a good thing.
The bad thing may be Goodell’s heavy handed words to his NFL bretheren, basically placing a gag order on criticism of the decion.
Every major organization has said they won’t postpone this or that, then ends up doing it. But the NFL hierarchy was adamant that it would start the league year on time, despite internal protests from team officials.
Now it has remained adamant that the draft will be held April 23-25, regardless of the fact team facilities are shut down, teams can’t put potential draftees through physicals, workouts, etc. General managers aren’t too thrilled; you know how throrough they want to be about every single pick. A draft bust can often be a job breaker.
But Goodell’s reasoning is likely this: Whenever we return to some semblance of normal, however long that may be, he wants the league to be ready to go.
“Everyone recognizes that public health conditions are highly uncertain and there is no assurance that we can select a diffeent date,” Goodell said in a memo to teams that was made public, “and be confident that conditions will be significantly more favorable than they are today.
“I do believe the Draft can serve a very positive purpose for our clubs, our fans, and the country at large. …”
Can’t argue with that. It’s the same theory that was used when the league year began as scheduled. Many felt it would be insensitive. But look at the last two weeks, and all the news and how the NFL in a lot of ways dominated the sports landscape with no other major sports leagues in basic operational mode.
NFL general managers and talent evaluatiors are probably upset at how this can effect the choices in the lower rounds, say 4 through 7. At this time players are visiting clubs, undergoing physicals, etc. So sure, there is a chance that damaged goods may be out there and clubs could unknowingly select them.
But for the higher choices, what the heck is the Indianapolis February Combine for? There are volumes of information these teams all have, oodles of film, reports, etc. They can interview the players remotely with today’s technology. But these coaches and GMs usually like to leave no stone unturned.
Goodell’s opinion is that these teams have had plenty of time to get most of the data they need. And if not, there are still technological ways to do it. Teams have been working for almost a year on this one event, believe it.
Where he may have gone a bit too far was his reaction to the complaints he was already hearing. It’s a time when organizations want to display an image of solidarity, and said that “…public discussion of issues relating to the Draft serves no useful purpose and is grounds for disciplinary action.”
Yikes. A gag order, which probably isn’t going over too well with some NFL team officials. It’s not a good look for the league, but
But the message is clear – like it or not, the show will go on, and you basically better give the impression that you like it. Roger Power.
We’re going to need the NFL once we hit
April. The draft will look different, likely in a studio format, without the fanfare that Goodell likes. But in the memo he told the clubs they would be provided with all the technology needed for communication with the league and each other.
Think about what it will be like. It’ll be televised, and the ratings will go through the roof. People will be starving for something meaningful to watch, perhaps even more so than when they were hungry for free agent news nearly two weeks ago.
Four weeks from now, we will desperately need to feel a Draft, because what we’re all feeling right now is not fun at all.
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251,firstname.lastname@example.org, or@Telegraph _TomK.