Next week, for the first time in NFL draft history people will watch the draft take place virtually in the comfort of each NFL team’s general managers, coaches, agents, and player’s homes.
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How Will the Process Work?
Since all team facilities are closed, every person involved in the draft process will be working from their homes. This includes NFL Commissioner, Rodger Goodell.
Thanks to a massive IT team effort, reliable internet connections, TVs, equipment, and backups have been installed in homes. Dimitroff also informed ESPN that each team will be allowed to have one IT specialist in their home on standby.
All 32 NFL teams will be connected via one video conference, through a modified Microsoft Teams application. It will also have a separate broadband connection with members of the league office.
Teams will still get 10 minutes to decide on a player and when they do, they will pass it directly to league officials. Phone landlines and email will serve as a backup.
Teams have been doing “dress rehearsals” as per usual. And the system will be tested repeatedly each day prior.
ESPN and NFL Network will work together in Bristol, CT to live broadcast to the event.
Made For TV Event
This year is expected to be bigger than ever before, as far as consumer viewing is concerned. With everyone at home and sports on hold, the NFL draft is the most exciting event this year.
The difference this year is that there won’t be parties in Vegas or a green screen on a giant stage. There also won’t be a public audience hootin’ and hollerin’ after each pick is announced and there won’t be any handshakes or in-person welcomings.
But the show must go on. Atlanta Falcons’ president Rich McKay details what to expect from the NFL draft this year.
“Is it the same as in the past years? No. It’s different. But we’ll be ready to go and I think one thing you need to know about the NFL is we’ll make it a spectacle. It may be a virtual spectacle but it’ll be a spectacle. We’ll make it entertaining. You’ll see the prospects. You’ll see them in their homes. You’ll have plenty of interviews. It will be very engaging and entertaining. And in a world right now where we really want content, we really need content to keep our minds where they should be which is off of some of the 24/7 news cycle. The draft will be a walk of relief. This year, it is truly the ultimate, made for TV event.”
The 2020 NFL Draft will still take place on Thursday, April 23 through Saturday, through April 25.
Here is the Schedule:
- Round 1 on Thursday, April 23, from 8-11:30 p.m. ET
- Rounds 2-3 on Friday, April 24, from 7-11:30 p.m. ET
- Rounds 4-7 on Saturday, April 25, from noon-7 p.m. ET