Move of NFL draft isn’t in best interests of all fans

Posted: 07/23/2009 in football
Tags: , , , , , , ,

You may heard that the highly popular NFL draft will become a three-day affair in 2010 with the first round being held on Thursday night.

No, I didn’t type in the wrong night. It will really indeed start on a Thursday night — with just ONE round — at 4:30 p.m. if you live on the West Coast.

Perhaps the NFL and ESPN (the E in ESPN not-so-secretly stands for Eastern, the only time zone the network cares about) don’t realize that football fans on the West Coast do hold down jobs.

So when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell saunters up to the podium at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall to announce the first selection, many die-hard NFL fans will still be working or sitting in traffic or picking up children from day care or doing any of about 300 other things that everyday people do each Thursday afternoon/evening.

In fact, Goodell’s quote on the move was pretty comical. The commish is definitely a lot funnier than Conan O’Brien.

“We continue to look for ways to make the draft more accessible to more fans,” Goodell said. “Moving the first round to prime time on Thursday night will make the first round of the draft available to fans on what is typically the most-watched night of television.”

Read the latter part of that quote again closely and you will find the real reason for the move. It has nothing to do with being in the best interests of fans, it comes down to the NFL (which isn’t in need of a stimulus plan to begin with) knowing it can make more money if the first round airs in prime time on the East Coast. It can charge higher ad rates and pocket more cash than keeping the first round on its traditional Saturday.

Just imagine how upset some women who don’t like sports are going to become when their football-obsessed husband tries to change the channel to see who the (pick your team here) selected during the middle of their favorite Thursday night TV show. Domestic violence via the remote control is about to increase.

Also, think about all the fans who look forward to those Saturday draft parties all over the country. If the NFL was sincere about the draft being about the fans, then this move wouldn’t occur.

This move also means the second-round has dropped into the second class. Friday’s second day will start even earlier — at 3:30 p.m. on the West Coast — and will feature the second and third rounds.

Yeah, that’s great. Imagine all the fans who missed the second round hurrying home around 6 p.m. trying to catch the third round! Even Conan’s writers could find some material to mock that move.

In fact, the NFL already made it clear the third round isn’t much of a viewing entity when it knocked the third round to the draft’s second day a few years back. Now the second round is losing status too.

The NBA holds its draft during the middle of the week and I seldom watch it. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t watch the opening round of the NFL draft but I can already forecast I’ll likely be missing part of it or all of it sometime in the next few years.

Not because I don’t want to watch it anymore, mind you. But because the NFL and ESPN will ensure that I have a conflict sometime with this poor decision.

One thing to always keep in mind: Whenever a sports league or a sports team claims they did something for the good of the fans, shake your head and laugh.

The NFL and the 32 NFL teams don’t do things because it’s in the best interests of the fans. They do them because they are in the best interests of their pocketbooks.

But there is one positive: If you miss the NFL draft, you don’t have to watch or listen to Mel Kiper.


  1. […] yeah, when the NFL made this decision, the league pitched it as better for the fans (see Let me remind all of you that the NFL does what’s best for its own […]

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