Reality as we know it has been different for the last week and a half. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our entire world and an innumerable amount of businesses, events, an organizations have had to work around it.
The NFL pushed forward with free agency (here is everything the Cowboys have done so far) as they figured that was a process that could be done somewhat remotely. In the times we’re currently in, social gatherings are what we’re all trying to avoid, and that particular detail makes things like sporting events very difficult.
Unlike other professional sports leagues (NBA, MLB, PGA Tour, worldwide soccer, etc.) the NFL is not currently in the middle of its season so it does not have large amounts of fans showing up anytime soon... until the NFL Draft.
Previously the 2020 NFL Draft was scheduled to be held in Las Vegas, the new home of the Raiders and several former Cowboys, with all of the fanfare to accompany the world-renowned city. The public side of that event had already been cancelled, but it appears that Vegas may be off of the table entirely.
Looks like the NFL is pulling the draft out of Las Vegas altogether
With no fans in attendance the “where” of the NFL Draft isn’t so important. If the objectives are social distancing and limiting crowds then the draft can theoretically be held anywhere. According to the Los Angeles Times, the NFL seems to feel this way and is moving on from their Las Vegas plan.
Las Vegas is off for next month’s NFL draft. No celebrations along the Strip. No boats navigating players across the Bellagio Hotel fountain to the stage. All that was scuttled in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak.
But the event is still scheduled for April 23-25, and the league has gone back to the drawing board to determine how best to stage it.
The NFL is not commenting publicly about what’s in the works, but according to two individuals with knowledge of the discussions, the 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.
There is definitely fun in getting to see players walk on stage, with their brand new team’s cap on to collect a jersey from the Commissioner. Being drafted is the culmination of a lifelong dream and extreme hard work both from the draftee and their inner circle. Watching that unfold is entertaining.
It is unfortunate that the NFL won’t be able to hold the draft in this same capacity, but hopefully they are figuring out something that would be interesting given the current climate of the world. If you watched any coverage of free agency from any of the big networks last week, you saw a lot of analysts and reporters with home setups. Perhaps the NFL can do something along these lines and use technology like Skype or FaceTime to get the draftees the attention they deserve.
So much is happening in our world right now and a majority of it is far more important than sports. We hope for the best for everyone here at BTB.