Despite President “China Virus’” ‘insistence that the NFL season should start on time, there’s this thing called the COVID-19—perhaps you’ve heard of it?—that’s doing everything humanly possible to disrupt those plans.
Of immediate concern is the NFL Draft, which was originally set to take place in Las Vegas on April 23, but shelter-in-place orders have determined otherwise, according to CBS Sports:
The 2020 NFL Draft will go on as scheduled, so says league commissioner Roger Goodell. The event was originally scheduled to take place in Las Vegas from April 23-25, but the coronavirus pandemic has led to jurisdictional quarantines and shelter-in-place orders that led the league to scrap their Vegas plans.
So what’s a billion-dollar operation to do?
Per CBS Sports, it’s looking like the draft could end up looking like a lot of these virtual happy hours that have consumed our evenings, with team personnel announcing their picks from the comfort of their man caves or kitchens. There’s also the possibility that the NFL will allow a limited number of personnel into team facilities in order to conduct the draft. But even with precautions in place, such as masks, disinfectant wipes and gloves, it would be a calculated risk considering that the safety of staff members wouldn’t be guaranteed.
As for the broadcast itself, with NFL Network studios in Culver City, Calif., and Mount Laurel, N.J., shut down indefinitely, that could look very different as well, according to Peter King of ProFootballTalk:
Over the weekend I spoke with four people with knowledge of the ongoing discussions between the league, ESPN and NFL Network about draft weekend plans on April 23-25. It’s looking more likely that instead of the two football rivals doing info-warring separate telecasts, they’ll combine to do one telecast, likely out of the ESPN studio in Bristol, Conn., with NFL Network talent either co-hosting or being major contributors to the coverage.
The consolidated coverage route could be every football fanatic’s dream, as familiar faces like ESPN’s Mel Kiper or Adam Schefter could form an unholy alliance with the likes of the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen or Deion Sanders. Just as long as all parties involved don’t spoil picks, I’m here for it.
But to that end, how will picks even be announced? And at this point, can’t we just have DJ D-Nice host it? I’m sure Michelle Obama would approve.
All in all, sports heads will be in for some big changes come April 23, courtesy of the coronavirus.