Are you joyous that the long wait is almost over? Are you weary and beat down by the endless rounds of mock drafts and increasingly strange rumors? Does the fact the NFL Draft finally starts tomorrow make you feel like this?
Cowboys Cheerleaders (@DCCheerleaders) May 7, 2014
Well, then, you may not want to read any further. But if denial is not your style, and you believe in facing life's adversities head on, then I offer this for your consideration:
Three NFL people that I really trust say the league is giving serious consideration to scheduling the draft a week or two later in 2015.— Bob McGinn (@BobMcGinn) May 7, 2014
(A side note about something I discovered totally by coincidence: Although it may feel like the thing to do, throwing a smartphone against a wall in anger and frustration is actually immature and quite expensive.)
I was hoping that this was just another internet rumor or hoax. Perhaps, I thought, the writer was just another person looking for tweets, or a delusional soul whose "Three NFL people" were the guys wearing team jerseys he gets drunk with on a nightly basis. Sadly, further research at reputable websites like Sports Illustrated reveal he is a writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The same article also had an explanation I had never seen before for why this year's draft was moved back in the first place.
When planning for the 2014 NFL Draft, the league decided to push it back from it's normal slot in April to provide teams more time to go through the draft process.
I have read about the delay several times in the past, and the only explanation I had ever seen was about some conflict with the schedule at Radio City Music Hall (that seems to have disappeared at some point, although I certainly don't know that for sure). Now, suddenly, this was a wonderful idea to help the teams all along. Worse, this looks like something that may have already been floated to the teams. During the Dallas Cowboys pre-draft interview, Stephen Jones talked about the benefits of the extra two weeks in getting the staff on the same page and getting some extra analysis in. That sounds disturbingly like there is already a bit of a campaign going on to get the franchises in line with the idea and then sell it to the public.
And so does this:
Roger Goodell to me today on why holding the NFL Draft in May is a good idea: pic.twitter.com/SchvI88051— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) May 7, 2014
Hubbuch is a columnist for the New York Post, and he posted a series of tweets about his discussion with both an unnamed NFL source and with Goodell. Those tweets include several other ideas, some of interest, and some just flat distressing.
- The NFL is seriously considering moving the draft out of New York, and several cities have already told the league they are interested in hosting it, including the home of the Cowboys and AT&T Stadium, Arlington. The Hall of Fame in Canton also is in the mix.
- This is all coming about because Radio City Music Hall is rather lukewarm about keeping the draft, and indicates that there could be future conflicts (there that is again - the message coming out of the league offices seems inconsistent).
- It really, really looks like the draft will go to four days in 2015.
- The draft may also become a split event, with the first two days held in NYC, and the other two in another location. When questions were asked about the logistical issues, the response was that few team officials attend the draft in person (which is true, most of the decision makers are back home in the war room) and that some of the draft could be done "virtually".
- Which begs the question of why have the big production in New York in the first place? It could all be done virtually, with a studio setup for the talking heads. Let each team set up their own watch parties, which Dallas is doing.
- There is no mention from the league of the reduced time to get the rookies on board and OTAs and minicamps all done. There was especially no discussion of the fact that the time after the draft was traditionally a time to give coaches, scouts and staff some down time before the long grind began again.
- A decision on how the 2015 draft will be structured will be made early this fall.
- This year, the seating arrangement at the draft will be different. The team tables will be behind the podium, with the fans in front. This should be a good deal for the fans.
- And, in a totally unrelated topic, the NFL is thinking about reducing pre-season to only two games. Along with this it would also re-institute some kind of developmental league.
I may be largely alone here, but thought of a four-day, two-city NFL draft which is pushed back even later is depressing. I have seen very little positive reaction to the delay this year, outside of Stephen Jones and Goodell, Most has been more like this:
So where are you? Are you OK with an even longer offseason, or are you ready to find some bargain deals on torches and pitchforks?