NFL sweetens the pot for draft invitees, a little

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As the Ultimate Reality Show’s ultimate offseason reality show prepares to have the largest in-person and television audiences ever, the NFL is sweetening the pot for the players who are invited to attend. Sort of.

Gil Brandt of NFL.com announces that the player’s high school coach will be part of the entourage who attends the draft, with all expenses paid.

It’s a shrewd move by the league, a low-cost strategy for tapping deeper into feelings like loyalty and guilt in an effort to get the player who may be inclined to pass on the invitation to attend. Now, it’s not just family members who get to experience the draft, it’s the person who helped craft the young version of the soon-to-be NFL player. How can the player deny his high-school coach that opportunity?

The added benefit for the league is the expansion of the cast of characters for the reality show with unpaid actors; someone to mention during the broadcast — and someone who’s reaction can be captured by the cameras.

Over the years, the NFL has done an amazing job of convincing incoming players that everything about the draft is a privilege and an honor and a blessing, even if (here comes the crusade) the draft remains at its core the antithesis of the American way. New employees once again don’t get to pick their employer, their employer picks them. And those new employees, the real stars of the Ultimate Reality Show’s ultimate offseason reality show, continue to be (as they were in college) the only people attached to the process who don’t get paid to be there.

The fact that so many who would otherwise favor a free-market approach to American business react so strongly and negatively to the mere suggestion of ending the draft or paying players an appearance fee to attend it remains a testament to the very best efforts of the NFL’s P.R. function, baked deep into the psyche of players, coaches, fans, and media during over the last four decades. The latest perk is just another way to get everyone involved to not realize how fundamentally unfair it is to keep players who were able to choose the college they’ll attend from choosing the place where they’ll work.

34 responses to “NFL sweetens the pot for draft invitees, a little

  1. Funny, every time I’ve landed a job, the employer has picked me. I haven’t had the good fortune to just walk into a business and say “I choose you. Now where’s my desk???”

  2. The NFL is making massive bank on the whole draft shebang why shouldn’t the players. By the time they are thinking about attending the draft they are no longer amateurs.

    Time is money, they should get paid for their time.

  3. I like to see the reactions of the lesser known and late round guys. So I don’t mind the bigger stars skipping.

  4. See, the draft exists because of collective bargaining. That’s right – with a union in existence, the players have allowed the NFL to have a draft, in exchange for other considerations. So, if you want to talk about the Draft being un-American – blame it on the unions for allowing it.

    Something else to consider. Without a draft – players can be signed by whomever is willing to offer what they want. Challenge with this is, there are some teams that would go out of business in that model – and other teams would be juggernauts.

    In no other industry do companies need their competitors. Ford can live without GM or Honda. But, a powerful sports team is useless without competition. The draft allows teams opportunities to compete for talent. But, after a set number of years (varies per league) players can negotiate with other teams. And, entry level salaries in this league start at $465,000 per year. Hardly a paupers wage…..

  5. What an absolutely pathetic joke of an effort by the league. No player should attend the draft. If the get drafted where they think they will so what, they get no benefit and will still get massive coverage over the next few years. If they drop and get Brady Quinned, they spend hours being extremely uncomfortable with TV cams constantly shoved in their face so the rest of the world can laugh at them squirming.

    They should all tell Goodell to go away they’re not attending.

  6. I think you are being way to negative on this one Florio. Players can simply say “no” to attending the draft (as many have in the past). Who cares if the NFL wants to pick up the tab for a coach?

  7. This logic makes no sense. Last I checked, you interview for a job and then hope the employer chooses you. The Combine and your college years are the interview and draft day you find out who wants to hire you. Why they should choose where to go makes no sense. Yes, they choose a school to go to, after they have been accepted by the school for a scholarship so…..smh.

  8. softhelmet says:
    February 22, 2018 at 11:47 am
    The NFL is making massive bank on the whole draft shebang why shouldn’t the players. By the time they are thinking about attending the draft they are no longer amateurs.

    Time is money, they should get paid for their time.
    —————————————
    Absolutely! The NFL is making the draft a bigger event each year, and you can bet they’re raking in tons of money. Why do players need to show up and sit around for free? The fact that they will eventually be paid by their team is irrelevant. If the NFL wants them to be part of the spectacle, pay them a little.

  9. Makes no sense to me; but I am no NFL marketing genius.

    High school coach is at least three years in the rear view mirror.

    Draft picks in the highest range are way beyond where they were as high school players.

  10. Dude, you’re not going to convince these mouth-breathing simpletons that football players are exploited by the NFL. They’re literally not smart enough to grasp the concepts.

  11. “Do people really watch anything after the first round?”

    I’m surprised people actually watch any of it. I look online about a couple times the first evening to see who was picked by which team. Then maybe a couple times a day on days 2 and 3.

    Watching paint dry and grass grow is about as exciting as the draft is.

  12. The union keeps agreeing to the draft in the CBA because without it, 75% of the teams in the NFL would disappear within a few years. Then the money dries up and the league dies. You have to maintain a competitive balance or the players won’t have anywhere to play. If some hotshot coming into the draft doesn’t like the rules that have been set up, he’s welcome to go to Canada.

  13. Players have options. They can talk to Vince McMahon or our friendly neighbors north of the border about their options.

  14. As others have stated above – not one person gets to choose their employer. They apply, interview, and then the employer chooses who to hire from that group of potential employees. Someone fresh out of a 2-year technical college doesn’t just walk into NASA and decide they will be assuming an Astrophysics Engineering position; NASA chooses who gets that position. Also – are you advocating that employers should start paying us regular joes to attend job fairs?

  15. Amazing how having what you hold dear challenged makes some of you forget how the world works. An employer doesn’t just pick you and that is who you have to work for. YOU choose to who to apply to. YOU choose who to interview with. At that interview, you should be asking questions to learn if it is a place where you want to work, and then once the employer offers you a job, YOU choose to accept the offer or not. You have a lot of damn choices in the process.

  16. If you choose to go to the draft, doesn’t the league pay for airfare and hotel accommodations? You might not be getting a check, but you’re getting a free trip, which equals compensation. And, the high school coach is now getting a free trip, too.

    Your argument makes no sense, Florio!

  17. “Last I checked, you interview for a job and then hope the employer chooses you.”

    Ah yes , but keep in mind – these aren’t just ‘any’ employees my friend . These are cream of the crop , the ones everyone wants ! Still today , employers vie for coveted employees . I know professionals who have been poached off one company’s roster to another thru social media like Facebook and LinkedIn .

    Florio , I can’t believe I’m saying this , but I agree with you . Except for one thing . The reverse order draft creates parity in the league . And that keeps EVERYONE interested .

    The NFL is designed for every team in the league to go 7-9 , 8-8 or 9-7 . There’s not supposed to be a New England Patriots or Cleveland Browns situation ; every fans gets to hope at the start of the new season that this year , their team could go to the Superbowl . Didn’t have a good year last season ? No worries , thru the reverse order draft and free agency , you can fix a broken team in 1 or 2 years . At least that’s the concept . If you’re getting multiple high first round draft picks year after year ( cough , Browns ) , and still suck – that’s mismanagement of the team at epic levels . The draft is a crucial part of the success of the league .

  18. Nice try Florio. People can try to pick their employer all they want, but ultimately the Employer has to pick them, don’t they. Also, what about Headhunters/recruiters who seek and, in certain cases hire people for companies all over the US? It may not be the same thing but the NFL is a unique situation.

  19. This idea that “no one gets to chose their employer” is simply not based on fact.

    Employers compete for the most talented in many fields.

    Law, medicine, engineering — the list goes on.

    Top talents decide where to work.

    Regarding whether this is necessary — European football is a great example of the impact of the lack of a draft. “Big sides” get the best players. Is that good for the sport overall? It is a matter of perspective. Putting great players together on top sides like Barca or Bayern or PSG makes those sides fun to watch. I don’t think as many people who tune in to see Barca if they had Messi and then terrible midfielders.

  20. Players should pick what team they will play for. Okay! Mike CK will be working at your place next Monday, we want to know how much you will need to pay him for picking you. Can’t wait to see what you think he is worth. Bill

  21. Sounds like the whole idea is dependent on an unnatural relationship with a high school coach, who should have been out of the player’s life 3 or 4 years ago. I really don’t understand what that has to do with anything, or why any young man would still be fraternizing with his high school coach.

    But, even if I’m missing something and there’s some validity to your comment, it seems like your idea is dependent on every young player having some kind of idyllic, Disnyey-movie, nostalgic fondness for some guy who he likely hated several years ago. Just does not make sense to me, on any level!

  22. jimmysee says:
    February 22, 2018 at 12:55 pm
    Makes no sense to me; but I am no NFL marketing genius.

    High school coach is at least three years in the rear view mirror.

    Draft picks in the highest range are way beyond where they were as high school players
    ____________________________________________________________________

    As a HS Football Coach for over 17 years I absolutely resent that statement. Yes, raw talent is there sometimes, but you know nothing about how many hours I spend promoting one Student-Athlete to various Colleges. This is along side the many hours spent on the field. I get paid next to nothing as I have a “Day Job”, so it not about the money. I have helped 100’s of young men find their way and only had 1 go to the NFL so far. I don’t do it for the accolades, but to suggest a HS Coach is not important in their habit forming years is outright wrong. I try to prepare these kids for life and yes, sell my Players to the right fit in the NCAA (D3, FBS and FCS). I am also honest with Scouts and later in life Players and College Programs recognize this and come back to have a look our program annually. I would even go so far as to say Pop Warner Coaches are equally important. After all, if they could not keep a potential player engaged; he may never have pursued the sport. The bottom line is without a foundation in HS they don’t get to College; no matter how naturally skilled they are.

  23. I didn’t get to choose where I was going to be stationed in the army, and I was getting paid a heck of a lot less than these guys. So I apologize if I am not very empathetic to them for not getting to choose where they will be making their millions.

  24. I agree with onereasonableman, and disagree with the “American Way” comment in the article. Except during superheated economies (rare), where the buying power shifts to the employee, employees are generally selected by their employer, and not the other way around. Plus the NFL isn’t a normal employer. It is a serious privilege to work there which btw is not normal. You choose to join the NFL, it’s like joining the Navy (which I also thought of as a privilege). You get assigned – to a team or a command it makes no difference. If you don’t like it, you can always turn down a contract.

  25. WolfgangVomFramps says:
    February 22, 2018 at 1:52 pm
    This idea that “no one gets to chose their employer” is simply not based on fact.

    Employers compete for the most talented in many fields.

    Law, medicine, engineering — the list goes on.

    Top talents decide where to work.

    Regarding whether this is necessary — European football is a great example of the impact of the lack of a draft. “Big sides” get the best players. Is that good for the sport overall? It is a matter of perspective. Putting great players together on top sides like Barca or Bayern or PSG makes those sides fun to watch. I don’t think as many people who tune in to see Barca if they had Messi and then terrible midfielders.

    Top talent at that point has proven themselves on the field and when they become the equivalent of unrestricted free agents, of course they get to choose. They do in the NFL as well. But some kid coming out of college who hasn’t proven themselves on a single down? No they don’t. The same way some HS or college graduate doesn’t get to start a bidding war in blue collar or corporate America. You earn your right to do that. And THAT is very American.

  26. hawkfan50 says:
    February 22, 2018 at 1:42 pm
    “Last I checked, you interview for a job and then hope the employer chooses you.”

    Ah yes , but keep in mind – these aren’t just ‘any’ employees my friend . These are cream of the crop , the ones everyone wants ! Still today , employers vie for coveted employees . I know professionals who have been poached off one company’s roster to another thru social media like Facebook and LinkedIn .

    Yes they do but as someone who has run rather large companies, I will tell you that you’re misreading the dynamic. That is the 1% not the norm. Employees rarely get to pick their landing spot because they are rarely poached and rarely competing between multiple companies. They are part of a 3-4 person slate that they have to win, and except in very strange and rare economic situations, are lucky to get that offer sheet. Normally it is the company (or in this case, team) that chooses.

    End of day if you don’t like it (as a player) you can choose to not go to the NFL. The rules say you get drafted you play for the team that drafted you. When you have only 1600 people even allowed in the league, that should be noted as a privilege. When you consider how many flame out, that should be considered the holy grail.

  27. fringetastic says:
    February 22, 2018 at 1:42 pm
    Amazing how having what you hold dear challenged makes some of you forget how the world works. An employer doesn’t just pick you and that is who you have to work for. YOU choose to who to apply to. YOU choose who to interview with. At that interview, you should be asking questions to learn if it is a place where you want to work, and then once the employer offers you a job, YOU choose to accept the offer or not. You have a lot of damn choices in the process.

    No argument, but YOU picking these things doesn’t usually affect whether you get a job. It’s when the company CHOOSES YOU that you get a job. You can choose whether to go to that job or not, fine. But if you don’t have a job (kind of like these draftees don’t have a job in the NFL) that is a pretty good incentive to choose whatever is in front of you. With the NFL, only 1600 people get to go and stay. You are totally free to choose what you want to, and be unemployed.

    The world doesn’t work the way you think it does. Unless the economy swings to where to employee has the leverage (and that requires a super low unemployment rate combined with a super high GDP – hasn’t happened since the late 90s/early 2000s) the leverage remains with the employer. Worse so with the NFL because so few people get to work there.

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