Have you ever heard of the expression "If it's not broke, don't fix it"? When I was a young chap, I remember NFL Draft weekend as a big event in my family. The draft would always be more of an introduction to the players that I would start to love, and learn to hate the players drafted by my teams' rivals. The draft would be a Saturday to Sunday event, where my family would have some beverages on Saturday, while attending feast on Sunday. Yes, Radio City Music Hall was obviously the place watch the draft, but for draft weekend, I would not want to watch it anywhere else. NFL Draft Weekend became more of a mini-holiday and not a publicity stunt. Now "Draft Week" has become a one of the biggest money makers for the NFL, and another event that was for the fans has been seemingly modified in a way that they can not enjoy it as much as they once did. In this blog post I'm going to give five reasons on why the NFL should change the way that the draft held.
The first reason I think that the NFL should change the way it does the draft is because of all the Mock Drafts and how it has become an absolute mockery! Seriously, look at ESPN (my favorite network mind you). They have people on their loaded payroll that just play with 'Big Boards' and discusses inside information that the average fan wants to know. Looking at the 'expert picks' it turns out that they are never exact, often not even close! I feel that if they spent more time on what teams were looking for, what was happening behind closed doors and furthermore the incoming draft class, than the time and money that the 'experts' take up will be a lot more valuable.
The second reason is the betting that it has turned into. I love this aspect in the draft, and love getting my picks right more than the above mentioned 'experts', but how bad is it that we have a draft board and are trying to randomly guess who has the most picks right? I think this personally proves my point of above, but also takes the draft into a whole new level. If the networks provided us with more information on interviews, personalities, and more about the incoming class, our picks can show that we know what we're talking about, and will possibly give us a better chance to win. I think it's a joke that we care about who ranks higher on white boards or who ranks higher when they didn't even play a down in pads on the professional level yet.
The third reason is the combine. Again, no pads included, but if you prove the you are the most athletic, your 'stock' rises dramatically. I completely understand why the NFL has a combine, but have you ever seen some of these tests? Like how does getting into a machine and letting it discuss how much fat you have around your bicep really improves or hurts your chances of getting drafted? I do want to point out how incredible some of these athletes are, but I am just unsure how well these tests will play out on the NFL field. I think it would be a lot more enjoyable and a lot more encouraging to put all the draftees in pads, and let them play the sport and interview athletically on the field. By doing this, it'll give the scouts more of the feel of who the player is, and will separate much of the class.
The fourth reason is the Prime Time move of the draft. Really, 8 p.m. on a Thursday! It is completely ridiculous that the NFL needs to move to Prime Time for the draft. The main reason for this move in my opinion is that the commercial slots, and the viewing payment is a lot higher than a Noon on Saturday. With that being said, many fans who used to watch the second half of the draft on the second day will most likely stop watching the draft by day three. Therefore, viewership will most likely balance out, but will the dollars brought in be higher?
Finally, I want to discuss the players who attend the Draft. In 2011, there is 25 players attending the NFL Draft. We will inevitably pass out jerseys to players drafted in the second round. When the commissioner hands out the jersey,will the jersey display a large '2' on the jersey? I think that this action will take away from the exclusiveness and quality of top players that attend the draft.
I want you to know, I am a huge fan of the NFL Draft, and will still watch it on Thursdays. I just really am starting to get the vibe that the NFL is forgetting what puts the money in their pockets-their fans. Without us, no one would watch the games, buy their products, or attend anything held for the team. The league needs to figure out how to once again connect with their fans.