The NFL knew it had a bigger job on its hands this year. Not only were they celebrating the accomplishments of the most talented athletes who took their chance at going pro. With COVID-19 changing households, cities, countries, and everyday lives, the NFL wanted to restore hope by continuing with the NFL Draft.
Several players from the past and present gave their thoughts on the situation and voiced their thanks for everyone on the front lines. ESPN commentators, along with Roger Goodell, also remarked several times their thanks for everyone making life possible despite the challenges. There were slots allotted for artists to perform songs to inspire hope, along with montages of doctors, nurses, and the public’s appreciation for them.
For anyone who watched this years’ draft, we learned and saw a lot. We were able to witness intimate war rooms for each team, which included family and pets. We got to see excitement and reactions out of GM’s, head coaches, and Directors of Player Personnel, along with their families. The virtual format of the Draft allowed us a chance to see them in a more casual, fun context.
We also got to see soon-to-be rookies’ reactions, alongside family and friends. As opposed to the normal scene, where thousands of people are crammed into a venue to celebrate. These are special days in the players’ lives, so to see them celebrate with their families, is truly special. Goodell has always been charismatic, and it was interesting to see him try to make the most of the situation. At times, it seemed awkward when trying to interact with fans or players, but kudos to him for being part of this success.
We also learned that Kliff Kingsbury lives a lavish lifestyle, showing off his mansion during day one. Jerry Jones had an incredible flex by drafting on his yacht, while Bill Belichick kept it simple by drafting in his kitchen. He has the rings, he can do whatever he wants.
Goodell noted how the intimacy of this draft was unique, and people liked it. There’s a chance the NFL will try and implement similar elements for future drafts. What that looks like would be anybody’s guess, merging the normal and virtual ways of the draft. With the NBA Draft coming up this summer, it’ll be interesting to see if they attempt a similar maneuver, after seeing the NFL succeed.
As important as it was for the athletes, families, and organizations around the NFL, the draft also helped against COVID-19. In addition to providing an escape from what’s been happening, the NFL pooled over $100 million for charity by the end of the draft. That number has only risen since, with a final total yet to be announced.
Considering what all could’ve gone wrong, this was a fantastic draft. There were hiccups here and there, and some dead space at times, but we’re only human. Here’s to an exciting 2020-21 NFL season and seeing these rising stars do great things.
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