The NFL draft will proceed as expected, but with a look and feel that no one ever would have expected for the league’s premier offseason event.
Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times reports that “current plans call for some type of studio setting with cut-ins from the headquarters of the teams making the selection at a given time.”
Hopefully, the cut-ins won’t happen for the picks to be made in the first round. At a time when people crave normalcy, the opening night must include Commissioner Roger Goodell reading off the selections, as he always does.
The setting doesn’t matter. Ideally, he’d be walking to and from a podium. (At least he won’t be booed this year.) He also could be sitting at a desk. Hell, he could be lounging in a chair with a pipe and slippers and a dog and a fireplace. As long as Goodell fulfills his most public role of the year, there will be something about the event that feels like business as usual in these incredibly unusual times.
Farmer also reports that Goodell sent a memo to all league employees this week regarding the event, which begins in four weeks and four days.
“Planning for the Draft is a good example of how we need to think differently, embrace technology and collaborate,” Goodell wrote. “We will also use the Draft to help support fans and those people impacted in our communities.
“While there have been changes to the way we work and some of our plans, we have an unwavering commitment to upholding the NFL’s legacy of unifying and lifting the spirit of America, and bringing out the best in our fans and in our communities around the world. You’ll hear more from us in the days and weeks ahead about how we intend to demonstrate that commitment well beyond our fields. And I hope you’ll share your ideas on how we can do that.”
Whatever ideas are submitted, the first-round picks must come from Goodell and Goodell alone. That’s the only way any of this will feel even remotely close to normal.
And given that there will be no sporting events between now and the draft, the draft likely will generate its highest ratings ever, as zealous football fans, casual football fans, and non-football fans who need a break from streaming movies and shows tune in for a live show on television that isn’t the news.