Mark Cuban may have been right.
It took me a while to type that. I don’t want Mark Cuban to be right, for various reasons. Including, you know, Mark Cuban.
But I’ve come to wonder whether Cuban may be on to something when he talks about the NFL getting too big for its own good. Of the league getting so big that the audience becomes taken for granted.
Whatever the motivation — the given excuse was a scheduling conflict at Radio City Music Hall for an event that eventually was canceled due to lack of interest — the NFL’s decision to bump back the draft by two weeks has been as much of a dud as the NFL-sanctioned film Draft Day. A palpable fatigue has emerged regarding the draft. We sense it, and we (or at least I) currently have it.
While the league reportedly would like to space out the three major offseason tent poles (Scouting Combine, free agency, and draft) to March, April, and May, respectively, moving the draft to May while leaving the other two in place has created the worst thing any media-driven industry can have: A lull.
No one likes the lull. Also, agents don’t like the fact that teams have more times to ask players to engage in private workouts. Teams don’t like having more time to evaluate and obsess and think and re-think.
As one G.M. said via text on Wednesday night, “Remind me again why the draft is not tomorrow? Is it so we can see another two weeks of mock drafts?”
We’ve yet to hear from anyone who likes the two-week delay, and the extended vacuum that it creates in the offseason.
By the time the draft begins, nearly two months will have passed since the start of free agency. And while the schedule release provided a temporary oasis from the lagging of the offseason calendar, a feeling remains that too much time is elapsing between major offseason events.
Here’s hoping the NFL, in its admirable desire to always improve the product, recognizes and admits that the effort to improve the product by delaying the draft by two weeks hasn’t. Here’s hoping that the NFL moves the draft back to what would have been tonight, keeping it there unless and until the other two major offseason events move deeper into the calendar as well.