Eighty years ago Tuesday, the NFL instituted a rookie draft

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Imagine an NFL without this.

Or this.

Or this.

Yes, the NFL would be a little less interesting without a draft.

On this day in 1935, NFL owners changed the way rookies were selected into the league, installing a draft for 1936. The idea was that of then-Commissioner Bert Bell.

The other major American sports eventually added their own drafts, too. The NBA, with its lottery to determine the first 14 picks and its snappy two-round format, knows how to put on a good selection meeting of its own.

But there is nothing quite like the focus on the NFL’s draft. The relatively long lead-up to the event helps. Draft coverage begins in earnest in late-January at the Senior Bowl and really starts to ramp up in late-February with the NFL Scouting Combine. There are reams and reams and reams of mock drafts.

Then, there is the event itself.

And when that is over, there are the early look-ahead mock drafts for next spring.

10 responses to “Eighty years ago Tuesday, the NFL instituted a rookie draft

  1. Eighty years ago Commissioner Bert Bell moved the NFL into the modern age.

    Today Commissioner (?) Goodell and appeaser Bob (traitor) Kraft, with their cute little side deal designed to insult every fans intelligence, nuked the NFL back to the stone age.

    For Sale : Bob Kraft’s integrity ( cheap)
    .

  2. Wolves=#1 pick. After being the worst team in the NBA 5 times since 1988, we finally get the #1 pick. Im speechless.

    Clearly, the NFLs system is the best. Outside of the Colts starting Curtis Painter in 2011 ensuring them that dude they having starting at QB now being the lone exception of failure of the system, the system is best.

    Long live the NFL Draft.

  3. I would just like to add, Indianapolis’ behavior during the 2011 season is attuned to treachery. Inexplicably worse than what the Saints did in 2009 and the Patriots did in 2014. They set themselves up for 2 decades, they started a mixture of a recently un-retired Kerry Collins and a Curtis Painter(whatever that is). They should receive the death penalty for this behavior that clearly came from the drug addled mind of Jim Irsay, the son of a villain himself.

    That pick belonged to the Saint Louis Rams.

    Again, I love the NFL draft, but the biggest cheaters in NFL history are going to rub it in our faces for the next 17 years, and I just wanted everyone else to be aware of it. The draft is amazing and the NBA lottery is a joke, but the Colts should have their first round pick stripped so long as Andrew Luck plays for that team for their wickedness. Go and read the game summaries from 2011 like I just did, I mean how the heck, do the Colts of all teams end up sucking for Luck?? Lets back the truck up here.

  4. The draft had its use in the 20th century. Nowadays, it would be much more exciting to let the teams have at it. After the top ten players its hit or miss anyway, and 100 players that would be hits go undrafted. anyway

  5. Eagles selected a RB from Chicago with the first ever pick who never played for them and ended up being a better business man than NFL player. Oh how the times have changed.

  6. Bert Bell wasn’t the Commissioner until 1946. Joe Carr was the President of the NFL in 1935. Bell was the owner of the Eagles when he proposed the idea for the draft.

  7. In the NBA one player has a far bigger impact on the success of a team than one player does in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers, Luck, Mannings, Brady don’t play defense, nor are they blockers. LeBron does it all on the floor. That’s why a lottery more or less works better in the NBA. What the Colts did was disgraceful but isn’t as impactful. If the NFL really wanted to review the draft system they could take the average record of a couple seasons rather than being rewarded for tanking one season

  8. The links in the story were great.

    The disaster that the vikings brought on themselves for not getting their first round pick selection in two consecutive years. Then their 1st round pick held out for half the season.

    Some of those Jets 1st round picks were almost as bad as the vikings.

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