The NFL Draft is probably one of the most over-hyped annual television events of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I like football just as much as the next person, but I really dislike pretty much everything that surrounds the draft. Here is a pretty good site to give you an overview of the draft, just in case you want to brush up on the rules.
Before I nitpick a few things about the draft itself, the big issue I have is with the television coverage. The 2011 NFL Draft will receive 25 hours of coverage on ESPN in a 3 DAY time span. Over 1/3 of the programming on ESPN (while there are NBA and NHL Playoffs, and plenty of MLB games going on) during those three days will be taken by the NFL Draft. That is Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, three of the best days of the week for live sports viewing.
Not to mention the fact that there are 9 hours of primetime TV (8:00-11:00 p.m. Monday – Saturday) during that time. 5.5 hours (or just over 61%) of that most valuable TV time will spent airing live Draft coverage (this applies to the East Coast, not the West Coast where there will be none in primetime). Not a Draft show with analysis, the Draft itself. You’ll be watching NFL Team Representatives step up to the podium and say a name. Yes, I know the analysts will break it down as it comes through, but seriously? I can’t think of a more boring way to spend 25 hours of watching sports.
I have no problem with them showing it on the NFL Network. I get it, it’s the NFL’s Network, they have nothing better to be showing than the draft or classic games right now. But ESPN (who claims to be the World Wide Leader in Sports) has plenty of other actual live games they could be playing. Nope, Draft coverage, for three days straight.
Let’s not forget that for those of you out there who like to watch just so you can see who your team chose as fast as possible, that there is this thing called the internet (you are using it now to read this!). Draft information will be updated as soon as a pick is made, probably with links to analysis of that player and his stats that you can get without wasting 25 hours of sitting in front of the tube. You could check a draft tracker 1 minute after each day ends and see all the players picked by your team in less than 5 minutes. Please, take this route.
Now for some complaints about the draft process itself, and I’m aware that some of these are not unique to the NFL. Why do teams get 10 minutes between picks in the first round, especially the top 5? I know you are talking about millions of dollars being invested in your future, but it isn’t like they don’t know who their choices are months in advance. They have seen the scouting reports, they don’t need 10 more minutes to make a choice. Have your ranking list, and scratch players off as they are chosen. I also dislike the “compensatory” picks being granted for losing in the free agent battle. If players don’t want to sign with you, there is probably a reason (management, coaching, money offered) so FIX IT. The NFL should not reward teams with extra picks for being bad organizations. And just for fun, I’d like to see any team that misses the deadline to submit their pick be bumped to the end of the following round.
Fortunately, with ESPN pretty much ignoring hockey, I don’t even turn on that channel anymore (plus I’m pretty much sick of their “coverage” of sports nowadays) which means I have managed to pretty much avoid news of the draft, and that has been nice. Trust me; you’ll be happier if you spend all that time doing something fun, and not watching the draft.
Bob Mills is the Broadcasting and Media Relations Manager for the Condors, and part of the Broadcast team. He just completed his first season with the Condors. His blog will be posted every Thursday on bakersfieldcondors.com.