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Eisen says league may block networks from reporting on picks

NFL-Commissioner-Roger-Go-033_crop_340x234 Getty Images

With the draft a week away, the question of whether and to what extent NFL Network and ESPN will create a true “and the winner is . . . ” moment for the 32 selections in round one has emerged, with unprecedented strength.  NFLN draft host Rich Eisen joined The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday to discuss the league’s move toward blocking the networks from televising images of players at Radio City Music Hall talking on the phone.

It may go even farther than dropping camera shots that drop hints.

“It’s possible that we’ll go even further and ban our information men from saying ‘I’m hearing this is what the pick is,'” Eisen said.

He also added that the staff in the production truck knows the pick, since they have to get graphics ready to show once the player’s name is announced.  Per Eisen, the folks at NFL Network are told the pick; anyone who watches ESPN’s coverage knows that Chris Berman knows the picks.  And that he has no qualms about stepping on the Commissioner’s thunder.

“The first-round process has been cannibalized by television,” Eisen said.  “And the teams, by the way.  A lot of teams what their Twitter accounts to be beefed up.  So as soon as they’re making the pick . . . a lot of teams have been tweeting it out.  So the teams need to rein it in a little bit, too.  That’s the next part of this process.”

The real question, as Dan pointed out, is whether the draft is a TV show or a news show.  If it’s a TV show, then the people involved in producing it need to help perpetuate the mystery.  And if it’s a news show, then ABC needs to assign a crew of reporters to the Oscars in the hopes of letting us know ahead of time what’s on the card inside the envelope.

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38 Responses to “Eisen says league may block networks from reporting on picks”
  1. capslockkey says: Apr 19, 2012 2:37 PM

    I actually applaud this. Much rather it be a mystery until the pick is actually announced. I find that the excitement and anticipation gets kind of spoiled every time they show a guy on the cell phone smiling giving away who the pick is minutes before it’s official.

  2. nebster21 says: Apr 19, 2012 2:55 PM

    Man the NFL needs to get shut down for a year. I would hate every second of it but the league is too powerful if it can tell networks that they cannot say who is picked. Not to mention GOODELL needs to be FIRED.

  3. boltnut says: Apr 19, 2012 3:00 PM

    Not sure if I like this. One of the best parts of the draft is to see the genuine reaction on the guys face when he gets the phone call. Especially if they’re with family. NFL takes itself too seriously sometimes. It’s football, not the secret service.

  4. kxlllxst says: Apr 19, 2012 3:07 PM

    Prefer the suspense of waiting for the pick to be announced — it’s cool to see the shots of the player and his family when he gets the call, but they can always show that moment after the pick has been announced

  5. judsonjr says: Apr 19, 2012 3:09 PM

    They should get rid of the draft.

    Just have teams do Punch a Bunch from the Price is Right. They get to go up to a wall with a bunch of holes covered by paper. They punch 3 holes and then takes the pieces of paper out and give them to ole Rog.

    Rog reads the first piece of paper and the team can either take that player, trade that player, or pass and see what the next slip of paper is.

  6. catquick says: Apr 19, 2012 3:09 PM

    This is the information age. There’s no way to stop the public from knowing whats going on in the first round. It doesn’t matter anyway. Football crazy people like me are going to watch even if we know who the first 32 picks are. Its like Christmas morning. You’re still going to run downstairs even if mommy and daddy let it slip yoou’re getting a new bike or a chemistry set.

  7. firethorn1001 says: Apr 19, 2012 3:10 PM

    ‘but the league is too powerful if it can tell networks that they cannot say who is picked’
    ________________________________

    Hate to tell you, but the draft is the NFL’s party and they can run it how they see fit. If they want to be the first to announce the pick then that is their right.

    I’m sure someone will spout freedom of speech and censorship, but its a game.. really stretching if you trot down that path.

  8. dryzzt23 says: Apr 19, 2012 3:15 PM

    Sports is not news, its entertainment.

    Since when has the media been interested in reporting the “news”.

  9. feck12a says: Apr 19, 2012 3:19 PM

    soon de fuhrer will have players and t.v. guys painting his house mowing his lawn

  10. jluns275 says: Apr 19, 2012 3:20 PM

    Here’s a newsflash folks: ITS AN NFL EVENT. Therefore, just like everything else they (or any other entity) own, they can dictate the terms of coverage. How exactly is that hard to grasp? In case you’re still not following, consider for a moment the record level NFL TV contracts recently negotiated. If ESPN, FOX, NBC, or CBS, (or any other network) had unlimited rights to cover pro football any old way they wanted to, do you think they would have agreed to pay all that money to the NFL? Do you really? If so I’d like to take this opportunity to invite you over. You see, I’ve got this bridge to sell and……..

  11. professorcolumbus says: Apr 19, 2012 3:22 PM

    The people complaining that the NFL is ruining the draft by trying to bring the suspense back are the same type of people who use cheat codes in video games, or make a big show of not being scared at haunted houses.
    The NFL is for once trying to make something fun, and MORE entertaining, yet some people still find a way to bitch.
    I hope ESPN goes about doing what they always do and NFLN does what Goodell is trying to do. I will be watching NFLN exclusively (which I would have done anyway…)

  12. freemanmvp says: Apr 19, 2012 3:25 PM

    Great move, it drove me nuts when i would watch the draft and they killed the suspense just about every pick when they showed the guy on the phone.Both ESPN and NFL Network would do it.Or someone jumping in right before the pick telling us who the pick is before it’s announced.Why show the draft on TV and then take the drama out of it.

    I love to watch the players reactions on the phones but they could show them right after or show them after on all of the NFL Shows that are on TV everyday.

  13. alstottwastheman says: Apr 19, 2012 3:26 PM

    I’d love more suspense in the draft. But, I’d categorize draft picks as news, and I don’t see how the NFL has the power to keep people from reporting news. What’s next, banning reporters from releasing free agent signings until the NFL can release them on their site?

  14. jetropolitans says: Apr 19, 2012 3:27 PM

    this is a step in the right direction…now move the draft back to saturday!

  15. shackdelrio says: Apr 19, 2012 3:28 PM

    ESPN made the draft less about who is being picked and more about Mortensen and Schefter being able to tell us who their sources say will be picked. The more players being invited and showing them on their cell phones two or three minutes before the pick has taken away all drama.

    I applaud the move if it happens.

    What I wonder though is if the hosts know the pick, why would they be picked when a guy like Ted Ginn is taken at 9?

  16. shackdelrio says: Apr 19, 2012 3:28 PM

    *surprised

  17. freemanmvp says: Apr 19, 2012 3:31 PM

    catquick: They could easily have a closed stage and green room with no unauthorized people or cell phones that would cure 99% of it.As long as the teams went along which could be voted on as mandatory by all 32 teams.NFL draft is huge now and they can maximize the experience of watching the draft if they chose to.

  18. pantherdan says: Apr 19, 2012 3:33 PM

    I am starting to get a bit angry at that pesky NFL…I mean I cannot even afford the network but I would have to change cable systems just to see my home team…wth

  19. astrosfan75956 says: Apr 19, 2012 3:38 PM

    Keep it secret until they announce.

  20. thetruth1313 says: Apr 19, 2012 3:38 PM

    @judsonjr

    what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul

  21. rmzthefirst says: Apr 19, 2012 3:39 PM

    How can they hide it from people in the audience…? Now that they announced it some sports network will have a mole in the audience and it’ll all be leaked…! lol…

  22. Match Point Floppy says: Apr 19, 2012 3:44 PM

    “It’s possible that we’ll go even further and ban our information men from saying ‘I’m hearing this is what the pick is,’” Eisen said.

    Good. This is the biggest thing that spoils picks. Like, congrats on Berman and whoever having a source that tips you off to the pick ten seconds before it’s announced. But your need to show it off is ruining the draft experience for everyone else.

  23. deucedropper says: Apr 19, 2012 3:47 PM

    Regarding the question in the last paragraph, the draft only works as a TV show, not a news show. The draft’s secret sauce is the inherent drama leading up to each “With the __ pick of the NFL draft, the ______ select…” announcement.

    In recent years, too many of these moments have been ruined by the networks showing smiling players on cell phones before the pick, or by Chris Berman telling us he’s got a “feeling” on the upcoming team’s selection, or by other reporters/insiders scooping exactly which player is about to be chosen.

    In a news show all of that would be expected, but it’s clear the NFL wants the draft to be a TV show. Otherwise, why bother spreading out the event over 3 extremely long days? Or inviting players onstage for photo-ops with the commish and their new team’s jersey and cap? Or inviting fans to come out and cheer/boo teams’ choices?

  24. godofwine330 says: Apr 19, 2012 3:47 PM

    Goodell’s so vain. He probably thinks the draft is about him. He’s so vain. He probably thinks the draft is about him…

    This is pure garbage.

  25. coutre says: Apr 19, 2012 3:48 PM

    Its the same as caller ID when your phone rings. You just find out who the caller is a few seconds earlier. Is it that big a deal?

  26. whoknowsnothing says: Apr 19, 2012 3:50 PM

    Is Rich Eisen reading these comments because this is what I suggested in the article “League looking for ways to put suspense back into the draft.”

    Still this is a good idea.

  27. mrbrizzles says: Apr 19, 2012 3:54 PM

    The NFL has peaked and is slowly descending towards other professional sports. Sports are supposed to be fun, not run like a government.

  28. danfoutsbeard619 says: Apr 19, 2012 3:55 PM

    I hate when they show the pick before its official how about you keep the footage of them getting the call and show it after the announcement and highlight package tthat come afterward instead of having kiper and mcshay argue in the five minutes it takes for the next pick to be announced

  29. westcoastpackerfan says: Apr 19, 2012 4:13 PM

    I was just thinking this morning that I might not watch the draft this year because all it is is Adam Schefter and Jason LaCanfora reporting the pick before it happens. Might as well just follow it on twitter. But if they are able to block those “leaks” it will be fun again.

    Of course, the suspense of the first and 2nd picks isn’t really there, but after that, let the fun begin!

  30. randomcommenter says: Apr 19, 2012 4:15 PM

    It has made the draft coverage worse. Not just because of ruining the surprise by a few minutes but because it taints the coverage.

    Draft coverage was the best when espn had 3 or 4 guys and they would discuss the possible selections, then the pick was announced and sometimes there was legitimate shock.

    The great moments are when the jets shocked everyone with Lageman. Or when Kiper bashed the colts for not drafting Dilfer leading to the colts firing back at Kiper.

    Now when they all know the picks beforehand it makes the commentary bland. Plus there are now far too many people on the broadcasts and the extra time is used to get comments from everyone but the janitor. I’d rather get 5 good minutes of real analysis from 2 or 3 people.

  31. philly86 says: Apr 19, 2012 4:31 PM

    This is great. It makes the draft far more exciting. There is nothing worse than seeing the guy on the phone or going over to the network analyst” I hear its going to be this guy”. right before the pick.

  32. jjljr says: Apr 19, 2012 4:34 PM

    TV networks, more than any other entity/entities, have made NFL owners rich. hell, the NFL never even considered televising the draft until ESPN wanted to show it. so now, they’re getting upset when the TV networks show a player before he’s drafted?

    I’m a pretty-avid NFL watcher (usually three of the four Sunday & Monday games), but the NFL’s arrogance has reached new lows. the Niners want $80,000 per seat for the PSL’s for the best seats in their new palace — plus the ticket prices. the NFL needs to lose something big; draft ratings would be a small step. this is probably asking too much of the PFT audience, but … pleez consider NOT WATCHING the NFL draft (I know — it’s a revolutionary concept).

  33. kpow55 says: Apr 19, 2012 5:17 PM

    Anything that leads to Berman talking less cannot be a bad thing.

  34. applecool1981 says: Apr 19, 2012 6:54 PM

    deucedropper says: Apr 19, 2012 3:47 PM

    “Regarding the question in the last paragraph, the draft only works as a TV show, not a news show. The draft’s secret sauce is the inherent drama leading up to each “With the __ pick of the NFL draft, the ______ select…” announcement.

    In recent years, too many of these moments have been ruined by the networks showing smiling players on cell phones before the pick, or by Chris Berman telling us he’s got a “feeling” on the upcoming team’s selection, or by other reporters/insiders scooping exactly which player is about to be chosen.

    In a news show all of that would be expected, but it’s clear the NFL wants the draft to be a TV show. Otherwise, why bother spreading out the event over 3 extremely long days? Or inviting players onstage for photo-ops with the commish and their new team’s jersey and cap? Or inviting fans to come out and cheer/boo teams’ choices?”

    ——————————————————————————————————–

    While I agree with the NFL on this one, it won’t be long before the tyrant bans booing of players selected; he might even go as far as banning cheering but that’s a stretch especially after the reaction the firefighters got after the firefighting OL man was drafter.

  35. axlviking says: Apr 19, 2012 7:35 PM

    The league knows what it’s doing. The draft has become boring…and this is coming from someone who LOVES the NFL draft. Why watch the draft without suspense?

    Goodell does a lot more good than bad and should be applauded.

  36. bischof21 says: Apr 19, 2012 8:10 PM

    Man I guess no one thought Thetruths Billy Madison reference was funny.

  37. jspyle says: Apr 19, 2012 8:16 PM

    Of course this concerns the likes of ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports and those like Florio and Patrick. Get real man! To these types its not about sports, its about gossip!!!

  38. bigredscouting says: Apr 24, 2012 2:33 PM

    Revealing the picks before they happen means nothing. People who watch the draft aren’t going to stop watching because they know the selection three seconds before hand. (Granted, it’s ridiculous that everyone feels like they have to reveal the info first. Really? You can’t wait a few more seconds for the league to announce it.) If early announcement is whats stopping them from watch, then they had no intention of watching the full draft or full first round anyway. Most people only watch until their team picks. The next level are those that watch the entire 1st round. The next people watch until about the 2nd round. Everyone else is pretty much committed for the long haul like myself.

    Insiders should be allowed to say “I’ m hearing this is the pick,” because they could be wrong. It happens all the time to Schefter and La Canfora.

    I get that the NFL wants people to watch, but how about you hurry the h*ll up and announce the picks quicker. Its takes forever and a day for a pick to be announced after you see “THE PICK IS IN” come across the screen.

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