By Coach Ryan,
It is almost time for the day that NFL Fanatics can’t wait for, “The NFL Draft.” Although the draft may be one of the most over hyped days of the year in the sporting world it does make for fun TV, or at least it used to. In a case of getting too big for their britches, the NFL has taken what was once a great offseason celebration and turned into a late night, late spring, let’s try to get every last ounce of ratings affair. I’m sure the NFL shows initial higher ratings for the top 5 picks but after that, who really cares? On behalf of NFL fans everywhere I ask you Mr. Goodell to PLEASE fix the NFL Draft!
The NFL Draft used to be an unofficial weekend holiday for football fans, and often non football fans alike. From 1988 to 2010 football fans would wake up early Saturday morning, grab a case of beer along with a pack of burgers or dogs and head over to a friends place where the days activities took place. Everyone would sit anxiously in front of the TV to hear “Welcome to the NFL Draft, ___________ is officially on the clock” as you toasted your beverage of choice and started the speculation. You may have only payed attention to the top 5 picks and whoever your team was drafting, but it wasn’t the point.
The Saturday draft wasn’t about ratings or watching every pick as much as it was another excuse to celebrate the football culture of beer and wings while tossing some bean bags and treating your Saturday like a giant tailgate party. This generally took place in April which was another excuse to go outside and celebrate the start of spring (again). Baseball was still fresh and exciting but the draft remained a reminder of football and all the camaraderie it brings with it every weekend.
Now, thanks to something that can only be described as greed we are left waiting for Thursday, May 8th at 8:00 at night. The majority of adult football fans now are stuck watching at home, by themselves for a couple of hours before giving the whole “I’ll check it in the morning” attitude. Due to trying to create hype and increase ratings the NFL has ironically alienated the very people they are trying to entertain, the fans. With the draft moved to a weekday night in May they have over saturated and bored to death people with “mock drafts” of who the Hell cares or has any idea. You probably have about as good of a chance of picking a perfect bracket as you do getting the draft right, and really who cares?
Sure I want to tune in to see who my team is going to pick or for a huge trade but after that I want to enjoy my day of tailgating, not falling asleep watching someone like Johnny Manziel’s face as he drops from being a top 3 pick to a late first rounder. The NFL Draft got great ratings because it encompassed the football attitude, not because it’s entertaining and must see TV and not because it takes place in in May.
The draft is not the Super Bowl. I don’t have to stay up all night watching it, nor do I have any desire to. If I don’t watch it, I won’t miss it. What I do miss is my yearly BBQ with my friends, talking sports, playing games, and yes seeing who is the key piece that hopefully could turn around my team. The NFL has become a behemoth in this country, and as a brand is as recognizable as Disney or McDonalds so the chance of anyone of importance hearing this message is slim to none, no matter how many voices say the same thing. If anyone is listening, please forget about your ratings on a Thursday night for a couple hours. Football is a game meant to be played on the weekend and is to be shared with friends who after all are the fans that make the NFL as popular as it is.