“The NFL-It’s Their World”
I can just hear Peyton Manning yelling at the line of scrimmage.
“Omaha-Omaha….Covid 19…Covid 19…Hut-Hut”
And just like that the National Football League is preparing for next season, even while New York City remains in the Virus-Crisis death grip. As this explodes into Maryland, New Jersey, Michigan. New Orleans is under siege, maybe worse than Hurricane Katrina. Texas and California’s population bases on waiting for the Tsunami of the virus to reach its borders.
No problem says Roger Goodell.
The NFL will go ahead with its college draft on April 23rd, in what will be a studio show. No fans in Las Vegas. Likely a draft headquarters at the NFL Network studios in New Jersey and Los Angeles.
All the draft experts, the Kipers, McShays, Jeremiah’s of the world will all be in different studios, apart from the anchors.
The war rooms will be reduced to just groups of five, separated by a lot of space. No Jerry Jones and his band of 25-in the Cowboys war room. Scouts will be in other rooms, on the phones to their GMs and head coaches.
They will use Zoom or Skype to show the War Rooms and hook up that way for possible interviews. You know ‘I can’t believe he was there’.
There will be cut-in to each War room and maybe an interview with a key exec.
The NFL will likely have Skype interviews set up with the top picks at their homes where they will be watching the draft off sight.
All this will have a very different technical feel compared to drafts of decades gone by. Technology will make all this possible, and somehow society will get thru it all. The NFL believes the fans will suck it up.
Some of us remember when the draft was a 1-day affair, with Howard Balzer, Paul Zimmerman and Bob Ley sitting at one table ad-libbing about the picks, back in the early days of ESPN. You’ve forgotten the draft was held on a Tuesday in the spring, that’s all.
Goodell’s memo, sent out Friday, to club owners, dripped of all the syrupy things you’d expect from the NFL. Giving fans a distraction from the death and economic destruction our country is in. A respite from what is on our mind, for a couple of hours at least. Serving the public.
But this is really about the historical NFL, planting its flag in the middle of death spiral across America, saying ‘not us’, we will go to work and we will give the fans what they want.
This is the NFL trying to corner the sports market, TV dollars, network contract extensions, while baseball, the NBA, the NHL, and maybe even the NCAA are reeling with the fallout of what happened to their seasons and their playoffs.
The money grab never ends on Park Avenue in the NFL League office, regardless of how they want to spin everything.
The CDC says the apex of the corona crisis will hit most cities between April 15th thru May 5th. Guess Goodell did not get that memo.
What happens if someone in Jacksonville’s or Buffalo’s war room gets sick and spreads it around the building? What if five days after the draft, positive tests showed up in the Patriots or Seahawks offices?
It seems needless to do this draft on April 23rd. Why not May 23rd, why not in June?
The NFL has indicated facilities will remain closed for an indefinite period. There will be no OTAs in early and mid spring. Maybe late June minicamps for rookies for a week, then veteran’s minicamp, then the opening of preseason camp in late July.
GMs and Coaches are flying blind into this draft. Yes they have a lot of video on players, and tapes don’t lie about talent. But they have had no access to physical exams since the Indy combine, and no rechecks of those coming off surgeries or extended rehab.
You can do Skype meetings for just 1-hour with a top pick, but can you do whiteboard play designs and learn about football IQ? Can you really delve into a players background?
Teams will be investing a lot of money into the Joe Burrow’s of the world, but what about the likes of Tua Tagovailoa, coming off his surgery on his hip. Worth the gamble, taking the word of a player, an agent, even the team surgeon?
But this is the NFL and you know how they operate. The virus be damned. Death tolls be damned. Who are you taking with your top draft pick. Serving the fans now, so you can take their money later.
The NFL game becoming bigger than life? That is really sad.
If this situation gets worse, and it appears to have no end, maybe Goodell will reconsider. Make the draft date fluid. Rethink it. Push it farther back. Help your teams make the right decision. Don’t risk your own peoples health.
As it sits now, Donald Trump’s daily stupid press conference statements, are now being challenged by what is coming out of Roger Goodell’s mouth.
The NFL-it’s their world. Aren’t you lucky you’re in it. Hope you don’t get sick. Hope what they are doing doesn’t make you sick.