COVID-19 has ravished the world, and it has decimated the sports world. With March Madness being cancelled, the NBA being put on hold, and many other major leagues being cancelled or delayed, the sports world is in desperate need of some new entertainment. The NFL Draft will be that break in boredom, but it will be vastly different than any draft we have ever seen before.
The whole world has embraced working from home and telecommunications, and the NFL is no different. The NFL Draft will continue via a virtual format. There won’t be any crowded auditoriums, handshakes with the commissioner, or even live, in-person interviews. The NFL Draft will go on, but it will be completely different in so many ways. Let’s examine the impact on all those involved.
First, let’s examine the prospects. These athletes have trained and worked their entire lives for this moment, and they are robbed by an illness that is out of their control. Luckily, most athletes should be able to spend this moment with their family, but some may even be unable to share this moment depending on travel or health restrictions. It’s sad to think that these men who have sacrificed so much to get here won’t get all the bells and whistles that go along with the event.
Now, let’s look at the 32 franchises. This is a major shift for all of them. Now, GM’s, coaches, and essential personnel must make sure that their communication is effective and timely. Communicating ideas and thoughts are more important now than ever. Also, “war rooms” are going to be practically nonexistent. Since franchise staff can’t gather in person, they will rely on technology heavily to play a major role in their franchise’s direction. Will any team forfeit a pick due to technical errors? Will any owner leak information accidentally? Owners will need to be more on top of their strategies than in years past.
How about the NFL as an organization? Well, there are positives and negatives. The positive is that this is the correct option. No matter what, the NFL is making the correct decision, and this a great opportunity for them to appeal to a much wider fanbase. Since everyone is extremely frustrated and bored, the NFL has a chance to do something unique, and they can also capitalize on a much wider viewing audience. The bad news is that that there definitely will be major financial repercussions. The NFL is going to have its bottom line damaged, and this could be mean changes for the upcoming season to recoup these losses.
Lastly, how about us fans? Well, unless you’re attending the draft in person, this really doesn’t impact most of us negatively. While we can’t go out to bars or restaurants to watch the selections, we can grab some snacks and watch with out families. We can all voice our opinions on social media like usual, and we can safely watch the NFL Draft, which will give us a break from the boredom of quarantine.
The NFL Draft is going to be altered in a way that hopefully we never be seen again. Hopefully this is a one-time thing, but if the NFL makes changes that fans love, this could be an opportunity to make things better for the future. In the end, the NFL is protecting all those involved, and this is a fantastic way for fans and the world to connect, even when we are apart. This is a fantastic way to be “alone, but still together.”