Sports Specs with Sam

The NFL made the right decision to let the draft go on as scheduled

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In a world where there are currently no live sports for fans to watch due to the COVID-19 outbreak, one of the most popular events of the year in the sports world that is not a game will go on as scheduled.

Roger Goodell, the NFL’s commissioner, sent out a memo to all 30 NFL teams last week that confirmed that the NFL draft will go on as scheduled April 23-25.

Each year the draft is a highly anticipated event for football fans, attracting high television ratings and weeks of speculation prior to the event.

There’s been a lot of discussion the past couple of weeks as every major sporting event has been postponed or canceled as to whether the draft can go on as scheduled or not.

It has been speculated that many NFL teams’ management wanted the draft postponed because they have not been able to conduct the same research and preparation they would normally do because of measures being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Mickey Loomis, the general manager of the New Orleans Saints, was vocal about his desire for the draft to be postponed.

“This is not a fantasy draft that you conduct out there with just a list of things on a piece of paper,” said Loomis on “The Peter King Podcast.” “There’s a lot of work that goes into it to prepare and there’s a lot of work that is done during the draft… Just the logistics of trying to conduct the draft with not having access to your draft rooms and your offices creates a lot of logistic problems.”

Sean Payton, the head coach of Loomis’ team, has been under quarantine because he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in March.

It is understandable that general managers and coaches would be upset about having to make potentially career-altering decisions — while perhaps feeling less prepared or informed as they have been in previous years.

However, the NFL ultimately made the right call in deciding to go on with the draft as it was originally scheduled.

Obviously the event will look completely different, as normally it takes place in front of thousands of fans and every team hosts their own local viewing party and neither of these will be possible this year.

The NFL canceled all the public events that were supposed to take place in Las Vegas for the draft, and the plan is just to broadcast it on television in a different format that will follow social distancing guidelines.

Making these changes and not postponing the event was the right call because there is no way of knowing at this point that the conditions will be any better even months from now and it will only delay the process and hold teams back further as they prepare for the upcoming season.

“Everyone recognizes that the public health conditions are highly uncertain and there is no assurance that we can select a different date and be confident that conditions will be significantly more favorable than they are today,” Goodell said in the memo.

There is no reason why NFL teams can not manage to use technology to communicate with each other and conduct their draft related business successfully. 

A similar situation to what other businesses within the United States are having to do right now as people are in quarantine or practicing social distancing.

It is unfortunate that pro days and in-person workouts and visits that are commonly used to evaluate and meet with prospects were canceled this year. However, this fact is not going to change by postponing the draft.

Teams still have film of the games and the NFL Scouting Combine that took place earlier this year to rely on to evaluate players and still have enough resources available to carry on with the draft as scheduled.

This draft will be much-needed new sports content for fans of pro sports to digest amidst this sports hiatus the country is experiencing and could be met with record-breaking viewership on television when it occurs.

Janssen can be reached at [email protected].