Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Worst Move Made By Roger Goodell (so far)....

(The NFL has decided to ban the Draft Day Party)

One of the best things about the off season is the annual NFL draft. For months, the obsessed football fan goes through each and every draft available player from the most prestigious to the most unknown college. Hours and hours of tedious and radically boring Combine footage is watched. Pro days are followed. Throughout this, they try to figure out which player should go where and who needs whom. Mock drafts, are made, scrapped and re-made with better choices for each pick. Hell, Mel Kiper, Todd McShay and Mike Mayock are just a few people who's career has been made because of the draft.

And it could be slowly coming to an end.

You see, all the predicting, all the mock drafts all the rumor chasing and interviews and workouts culminate into one amazingly weekend long kick-ass draft day party. Maybe you hang out at your local bar with your buddies and gripe over the picks over wings. Maybe, you go to the draft day party held by your team (The Redskins for example usually has one annually if they have a 1st round pick), tailgate, maybe meet a player or coach and watch the draft on the Jumbotron (or at FedEx The Not So Jumbotron next to the Lite-Brite). If you're like me, you load up on some beer and sodas, grill some Brats and Ribs (although this year I went the Famous Dave's take out route) have some of your friends over. It's a great time and a perfect excuse to throw on a jersey and enjoy a weekend without any chores.

Of course, that won't happen next year.

The NFL has decided to go after prime time ratings by breaking up the draft into three days (was two in the past few years) and airing day one and two in the evening and day three starting at 10AM. It's a huge mistake. Does the NFL really think that they'll pull even close to the same ratings that they get on a Saturday? Is the draft more intriguing to the casual fan or a new episode of The Office or CSI? No matter what, the hard core football geeks (like me) will be watching anyway but the NFL wants to bring in the casual fan. The fan there for the occasional game that enjoys football but isn't obsessed with the game. The fan that might be more interested in watching rounds 1-3 instead of a baseball, hockey or basketball game. I'm not convinced that fan will be interested after a long day of work and that they'll have to be in bed at a reasonable time to get through the final work day of the week.

It cuts out draft day parties for most of us. It cuts out hanging with friends, talking about football and life all while making fun of Mel Kiper's hair. It kills a fan created holiday.....something that should have made the NFL proud.

I think the ratings will be disappointing at best and I hope the NFL learns a valuable lesson from this; something that they should take into account when working with the NFLPA over a new CBA (and preventing a lock out): If it's not broke don't fix it, or you may just happen to break it in the process.

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