Thursday, April 22, 2010

NFL Draft

I hate this new 3-day format.

Remember the good ol' days when the draft would while away a weekend? Ryan Phillips does:

I love my one April day of pure nothingness. I usually don't even put pants on until well after 4 p.m. It is a perfect sports-centric day. It is nothing short of beautiful.
I never actually watched the whole thing: but I'd leave it on as background most of the weekend, and occasionally focus on it for an hour or so. This was back when ESPN actually covered sports: as opposed to the weird sports-themed entertainment they offer now. I'm old enough to remember the 12-rd draft: so when I say "all weekend", I mean it.
(The devolution of ESPN into an unwatchable mess over the past decade+ is a phenomenon worth talking about at some point.)
(How is it that teams don't miss those 5 extra draft picks each year? Clearly those players are today's undrafted free agents: did they get free agency as part of a collective bargaining concession?)
Does Anyone Like The New NFL Draft Format?
So now, instead of having a glorious Saturday and Sunday you could build your entire weekend around, we get a piecemeal bastardization of the NFL Draft that requires you to be in front of your television at 6:30 p.m. CST on Thursday, 5 p.m. CST on Friday (because, you see, you should have to leave work early), and 9 a.m. on Saturday.
The answer, as usual, is money. Roger Goodell & Co. are chasing the money in a short-sighted attempt to grow the NFL brand.
Well, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the NFL's efforts to "grow the brand". They are the biggest and the strongest, for a reason. But this move does seem not super-well planned out. Is Thursday night really the night you want to challenge the standard broadcast networks? Am I supposed to get my wife to turn off The Office and 30 Rock and Project Runway, so I can click over and see whether Dez Bryant is still on the board? If I want to keep tabs on the first round, I'll either need to go upstairs or (more likely) flip open my laptop and check online.

I suspect a lot of fans will be in the same boat. Seems to me the NFL is likely to get a smaller percentage of TV sets Thursday nights, than they were getting on the weekend. Maybe the pie is bigger on Thursday nights, so they get more eyeballs overall, but that remains to be seen.

Tactical changes

Of course it's not just my viewing experience that is rattled. This reschedule also has an impact on the teams who are drafting. You wouldn't think so immediately: if a guy's the 33rd-best player under the old format, you'd think he'd still be the 33rd-best player in the new format. But my sense is this extended time will penalize teams who typically do a good job of draft preparation – Indy, Pats, Pheagles, Giants, Steelers, Ravens – because it will neutralize their preparation advantage. Other teams will have time to stop and think and get organized.
New NFL draft format adds drama
There used to be three rounds on the first day, which made high fourth-round picks very valuable. When the league went to two rounds the first day, it made high third-round picks more attractive. Now, with just one round on the first day, everyone will have a chance to sit back, review their boards and then decide what they're going to do when it's their turn in the second round the next day.
"The first pick in each of the days are always valuable a little bit more because after the dust rises, there's normally a player where you say, 'Why is he still up there?' It becomes something of value," Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson said.
New NFL draft format adds value to second-round picks
Last year, the NFL held the first two rounds on one day, then Rounds 3 through 7 on the next day. That contributed to the third round being particularly active with trades. This year, Round 1 takes place on a Thursday night, with the second and third rounds on Friday and Round 4-7 on Saturday.
The Jets' aggressive move for Greene was the most notable swap, with New York sending a 2009 third-rounder, 2009 fourth-rounder and 2009 seventh-rounder to the Lions. In Detroit, the phones in the draft room started buzzing about an hour before the third round was to begin.
"At the last minute, all of a sudden it started heating up," Lions coach Jim Schwartz recalled Tuesday. "Any time you give 32 teams time to reconvene, to spend one hour, two hours, three hours plotting a strategy to make a deal and come to a group decision, you're going to get more action."
Of course, if you're dumb, you'll still have chances to be dumb under the new format. The Raiders have the 8th pick.


  1. "Seems to me the NFL is likely to get a smaller percentage of TV sets Thursday nights, than they were getting on the weekend. Maybe the pie is bigger on Thursday nights, so they get more eyeballs overall, but that remains to be seen."


    Your answer:;_ylt=AucuLNJXTYklIvJr7mQrZK9DubYF?slug=ap-nfldraft-ratings

    The ratings for ESPN’s first NFL draft in prime time were up 23 percent from last year.

    The cable network says it had a 5.3 rating and 7.2 million viewers for the first-round of the draft held Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall. It’s the most-viewed first round in the network’s 31-year history.

    Coverage of last year’s draft started at 4 p.m. on a Saturday and had a 4.3 rating.

    ESPN says the draft ranked as the fifth most-watched cable program of the year.


    Expect to see it back in prime time next year with numbers like that.

  2. I would suggest growing a pair and telling your wife that you are going to be watching the draft that night, and she needs to make other plans.


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