After killing time in New York City for the past few hours--probably the best place in history to "kill time"--it's back to business, and we're finally hooked up at Radio City. Would you like to see a 300 page dossier on every draft prospect, collated into postions for each player? The NFL is happy to oblige.
Don't worry... There's one for defense, too! (Hits self over the head with both books).
The draft itself is awesome, but the analysis gets a bit tedious after awhile. And that's why this event worked so well on a Saturday in late-April. You could flip to the NBA and NHL playoffs... You could fall asleep... You could spend an hour making fun of Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay. It was the perfect amount of white noise and meaningful action. All day long, the draft would be buzzing in the background, and you could plan your day accordingly.
Now? The draft's in prime time,a sure sign that the NFL intends on making this an Event. And it may work, becuase God knows, if people love football enough to sit through 4-5 preseason games each year, they'll certainly watch as their teams add future superstars, trade big names, or, if you're a Raiders fan, continue to stab you in the f'ing heart. It's part of being a fan. But will it work better?
I don't think so, and here's why: Suddenly, the analysis itself becomes the show, and again, you can only break down 40 times and throwing motions for so long before the brain goes numb and you're slackjawed on the couch, drooling on the replica jersey you're rocking for the occasion.
But before we pan the idea completely, here's one more wrinkle that I didn't consider before arriving in New York City: These are humans. And while the 1st Round won't change very much whether it's on Saturday afternoon, Tuesday morning, or Thursday Night, one thing that will change is the 2nd and 3rd. Suddenly, the people in charge of drafting these guys have an extra night to second guess themselves, maneuver up and down to pick up extra picks, and do all the little things that make the draft such an essential event for NFL fans.
It's not the analysis that sells this stuff; it's the idea that, on some level, you can win the draft. Even if you have a low first round pick or no first round pick, in the later rounds, there's a lot of value to be had. And now, as the NFL tries to make the first round even more of a spectacle, the competition just got a lot more fierce, as everyone'll have an extra 24 hours to wheel and deal where it (arguably) matters most.
So keep that in mind as people talk about the new format all night. The NFL Draft may be upping the glamour factor by hitting prime time, and it should be an interesting show (40 times! Game tape! Mechanics!). But at the end of the night, things should get even better. You thought the gamesmanship and strategy of the draft was intense the past few years? Well now the would-be geniuses running NFL front offices will have two extra days to play with.