NFL Draft Better on Saturdays
Last night the NFL Draft did not disappoint. There were surprise picks, trades and you even had a touching moment when Ryan Shazier WALKED across the stage to announce the Steelers pick. This is one day that I very much look forward to every year. You never know what’s going to happen. Who’s going to mortgage the farm for a bust? What players will have an awkward night while all the cameras on them in an empty green room as their draft stock tumble? And what idiotic move are the Jets going to make?
The draft has become a spectacle and has evolved over the years. In the 1980s the draft was first aired on ESPN and was held place in a New York City hotel. Former league commissioner Pete Rozelle gave the rights to ESPN to broadcast the draft, but was originally confused as to who would even want to watch it.
The draft then found a home at Madison Square Garden in the 90s and become more of a spectacle. Fans would poor into MSG wearing their colors and cheering as if it were a game. In the 2000s the draft then moved to Radio City Music Hall and has now become a full on fan frenzy.
In 2010 the NFL decided to move the draft into prime time and make it more of an event rather than just a draft. It’s aired on two channels and is one of the most watched events on television. That’s great for the NFL, which owns the offseason. But is it great for the true fans?
I miss the days when the draft was held on Saturday and Sunday. Rounds one through three would air on Saturday and four through seven on Sunday. The first round would start around noon and that Saturday was one of the best days of the year.
I had a yearly ritual where my cousin and our buddy would get together, order a pizza, play some cards and just bust on each other for what our respected teams did or did not do. It was a day to hang out, reconnect and just have a good time. You pair that with the NBA playoffs and that Saturday became a day that I circled on my calendar and deemed the best day of the year.
That was stripped from us in 2009, when the NFL announced they would move the draft in primetime. I felt betrayed, but that’s the nature of the beast. I’ve always felt a little resentment to the business side of things, which I get.
Last night the ritual continued and we all got together, but man do I wish it was one of those long nostalgic Saturdays that seemed to have endless picks and trades.
I still and will always continue to watch the draft, but the fact that the first round didn’t end until 11:30 and I had to be up for work early this morning did not sit well with me. If I had one wish it would be to get that Saturday back. I know it’s a pipe dream, but a man can dream can't he?