• James Hewlett

Stay Home Draft Day

Today is the first day of the NFL draft, for the past two years its also been the day of release for an Avengers movie so as I’ve been getting out of the theatre for that my phone has been blowing up with news and hot takes of the first few picks. I’ve then got home and watched the rest of the first round before heading to bed.

I never really watch live past that, I don’t follow college football so I have no idea who these new kids are, I’m happy to read the reports that follow almost instantly from professionals.

This year is different though, thats pretty much a blanket statement that could be applied to everything huh? I don’t know for sure but it wouldn’t surprise me if this was meant to be the release date for Black Widow before all movies got postponed and entertainment shut down. I don’t think I’d have been seeing that on opening night anyway, maybe a week later.

But back to the draft; normally this three day event takes over a town and has lots of people in attendance, fans, press, pros, league officials and many of the candidates for this years class. Each team will be back at their own compound working ruthlessly behind the scenes cutting deals and looking at any number of things to help them make their selection each round. That is obviously not the case this year. There is no stage, there is no grandstanding, there is no shaking the hand of the commissioner and getting handed your new teams jersey and cap. Hell, even the live links to players who choose to stay at home and celebrate with their families will probably be a lot different; usually the cut aways to those guys features them with tons of family and friends around all gathered around waiting for the call.

I imagine this year everyone drafted will be at home, many just on a webcam, with only a handful of close family in attendance whom they are quarantining with.

It’ll be fascinating to see, and I am going to watch some of it tonight, at least until the Colts first pick, but as I eluded to yesterday I’m finding it very hard to muster enthusiasm for the game at the moment. That feeling doesn’t come from me losing interest, quite the opposite, I’m just trying to temper my expectations.

Everyday that goes by I have less and less faith that there even will be an NFL season come September. The last time I listened to the podcasts, the Around The NFL guys were speculating that normality wouldn’t return to the league until around training camp in the middle to end of July. That seems wildly optimistic to me at this point and I think even September for the the usual start of the regular season is a pretty big stretch.

Don’t get me wrong, I think a lot will happen between now and then, I hope that a lot of progress has been made and a lot of things have improved or are well on their way to getting better. But the idea of fifty, sixty, seventy thousand or more people packed into upwards of sixteen stadiums across America early in September…. I will be amazed if that happens and honestly I don’t know how I would feel about it if it did happen!

It wouldn’t at all surprise me if by September America has ‘reopened’ and the people unfortunately in charge are trying desperately to make out like their economy is recovering and people should start going back to business as usual, but I think it would be highly irresponsible of the NFL as an organisation to start the season under regular conditions until a lot more progress has been made to prevent the spread of this extremely infectious virus.

I don’t think they would have any interest in doing empty arena shows like some sports have tried and I would be concerned with even that; there isn’t a way of having an NFL game with a skeleton crew, there are hundreds of people involved in every game before you even start to think about fans in the stands and these guys don’t have the ability to keep responsibly separated and play the game at the same time.

I’ve not put any effort into fantasy football thought this off season for the same reason. If there isn’t going to be a season there isn’t a point in thinking about fantasy football. And for me personally, if there isn’t the in person league meet ups like for our own draft day, then there isn’t a point in having a fantasy league. For the league I run, I think I’m going to have a firm date and if there isn’t definite progress by that date or if there is uncertainty about the NFL season I am going to just hit the hiatus button on it for this year regardless of what ends up happening. I would rather take a year off than do it half assed or supporting something I morally object to.

I could go on with this one a lot more, more than I thought I could to be honest, but I would end up getting angry and overly political so I’m going to call it there. I’m currently sat in the garden enjoying a cold one, I think I’m going to put on some tunes, kick my feet up and enjoy the rest of this afternoon.

I cleaned my windows today, managed to not fall out and break something while precariously leaning out the upstairs ones too, check me out!


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