I still don’t get the NFL draft as a TV event. But apparently I’m in the minority!
“According to the NFL, more people will be watching the draft than the NBA playoffs when the two events are being aired at the same time,” said an L.A. Times story this past weekend. Imagine that: if we used to think men were lazy for just sitting around watching sports, where does that leave us when we’re sitting around just listening to teams choosing who might be playing on their team sometime in the future, and listening to sportscasters talking about it for 9.5 out of every ten minutes in between picks!
In case you missed it, the National Football League held its official player selections on Saturday and Sunday, when professional teams take turns choosing from the college players who want to become pros. There were no plays, no scores, no referees. There was no offense, no defense, and no special teams. There was actually zero athletic action, and yet even this qualifies as television entertainment these days.
To liven up the made-for-TV event, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league wanted to “make it more entertaining and make it more fun for the fans.” The time allotted to pick a player was reduced from 15 to minutes per team in the first round, and seven minutes instead of 10 in the second. Two rounds took place on Saturday (instead of three) and the whole event was aired on ESPN, as well as the league-owned NFL network, which featured (get this) at least four hours of “pre-draft” coverage.
Who knows what’s next? Maybe there will be televised coverage of the coaches making their “cuts” before next season starts, or perhaps the cameras will be rolling when the press guide is put together. My dad used to compare boring events to “watching paint dry.” For me, this came close.
I think Chris Long, son of sportscaster and former player Howie Long, said it best. “I don’t think of it as the draft as the achievement,” he said. “I think it’s the career afterward that matters.”
That’s the smartest piece of commentary I heard or read about the draft all weekend, although I admittedly watched several minutes of it—not several hours of it—and I was among the minority who watched my Lakers go three up on Denver!