The NFL Draft is an annual tradition and has been for over 80 years. If the NFL knew any better they’d back off and stop messing with it.
This is how I feel when the offseason hits and it’s time for this year’s NFL Draft!
But recently my excitement has waned somewhat because of an unnecessary greed driven power move by the powers that be.
When will the madness stop? Everything is about money, the bottom line, how can we make more money?
We use this phrase all the time in the radio business when we’re talking about the greed of our generation. Don’t you reach a point where so much money is on the table that you’re throwing buckets of water in the ocean?
Despite the overflowing amounts of money that has been generated from sponsors, fans, and advertisements alike. Not that you need a rocket scientist to tell you this was a “business decision”, but here’s a smart guy professor’s opinion anyway.
“It’s all about the ability to generate more revenue,” said Jordan Kobritz, a professor of sports management at the State University of New York College at Cortland via the New York Times. “The bottom line is this is all about money.”
But there’s a little thing called tradition. It’s something that is worth more than money. The draft has been in New York City since 1965. Specifically the draft has been in Radio City Music Hall from 2006-2014.
I’m a traditionalist. I’m exactly what the NFL wanted to create. A living breathing NFL junkie who has the constant urge to roll up his sleeves and jam the “NFL Corporate Stream of NFL Draft coverage, articles, podcasts, 24/7 analysis” needle into my veins.
I consume everything NFL. I watch the entire draft, all seven rounds, and make mock drafts myself. There’s a certain magic to Radio City Music Hall. The theater has a majestic presence to it from the setup, to the red carpet, to the city, to the camera angles of fans in jubilation or despair.
I’ll admit that I eat all of that up, but three years ago the NFL made a decision. One that was completely selfish and didn’t think about the fans. They sold off the NFL Draft to the highest bidder as if it was some kind of object.
It’s not an object, it’s a living breathing entity, that countless scouts, fans, and other executives spend 365 days a year breaking down and analyzing.
For the past two seasons that highest bidder was Chicago. It’s not as if I skipped the draft on some lame strike movement because I didn’t like that they moved it. On the contrary I enjoyed it as I do every draft, but it wasn’t the same.
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I’ve talked to numerous members of NFL personnel, fans, and scouts alike about what they think of the change. One person I respect tremendously is my good friend Connor Rogers of Bleacher Report. He covers the NFL Draft all year long and has been involved in the process for the last decade, here’s what he said when I brought up the topic on ESPN Radio.
“Yeah I don’t like it at all (the move). For two reasons, first off I’m aware of my bias, I’ve been in New York my whole life and I loved it at Radio City. I thought it was special. No. 2 it’s about tradition. I mentioned it when I was talking about the Oakland Raiders earlier. There’s certain traditions you just don’t break and this is one of them. Having it in Chicago last year it didn’t bomb out, but the bottom-line is now it’s in Philly. Where will it be next year? It was completely unnecessary and it was doing just fine in Radio City Music Hall. Keep the tradition. The NFL too often overthinks itself and this is a perfect example of that.” – Connor Rogers via ESPN Radio in Syracuse
I may be the guy yelling at the tide coming in and that’s fine. But so many things the NFL has done for money reasons and I haven’t batted an eye, this was just too close to home. Both literally and figuratively.
Why do we have to be so greedy? The NFL makes billions, with a B, isn’t that enough revenue to go around? Is it impossible to imagine a world where a decision is made for the good of the people instead of the good of the company?
NFL if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.