2012 NFL Draft: Now with an Element of Drama for Whatever Reason

Brendan O'HareContributor IApril 25, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at the podium during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Responding to the incessant clamoring of no sane person, the NFL has decided that the NFL draft needs to become more dramatic.

This has been a process where the NFL has tried to exert control over TV networks and social media and Chris Berman, beginning when the league said it will no longer allow video of players being called on the telephone during the telecast. Why this matter even had to be addressed in the first place is beyond me, considering a two-second shot of a phone call isn't going to ruin the non-existent surprise for any average NFL fan who hasn't been bombarded with an umpteen number of mock drafts for months and has seen an endless lineup of expert/TV personalities endlessly drool over who they think is going to be picked at every slot. I'm not even saying this insane amount of information available beforehand is a bad thing—it's just that to imply any "drama" exists in this event is absurd. To call it a "buzz kill" does a diservice to the word "buzz."

There is no "suspense" in the NFL draft, and any insinuation that there is makes the draft seem like a soap opera—drama placed in a ridiculous situation. Along with not allowing shots of people talking on telephones, the NFL has also warned teams to not let information leak out before the podium announcement because only Roger Goodell is allowed to say it and NO ONE else, otherwise teams will set bounties on each other and players will die from injuries sustained in games.

Oh wait, these are actual problems the NFL faces.

It is obviously totally silly that the NFL is trying to wield so much power over the release of information, and it only gets weirder when you think about what Rich Eisen said on Dan Patrick's podcast:

“It’s possible that we’ll go even further and ban our information men from saying ‘I’m hearing this is what the pick is,’” 

What? WHY? Are there actually people that exist who are that invested in the narrative behind the NFL draft? This isn't the Oscars where in between the announcement of selections there are dance numbers, monologues and a bunch of other crap that makes the show last three hours. The NFL draft is just a lot of sitting around and waiting—any "suspense" that is supposed to be built is immediately slashed by the time 10 minutes have gone by. It's not too big a risk to say the Colts will take longer than eight minutes to reveal they are picking Andrew Luck, even though that information is already out in the public domain.

The league likes its advertising money (that's not a criticism of the NFL—what professional sports league doesn't), and in the NFL's eyes, ensuring that teams and reporters aren't tipping who is being chosen early means that viewers will be forced to watch for longer periods of time. 42 million viewers watched the NFL draft last year, but I wonder how many of those viewers watched the draft for more than five minutes consecutively. Due to the ridiculous amount of waiting time in between picks, the NFL draft is monotonous. Shortening the time span between picks would probably eliminate a lot of the need for the leaking of information by teams or reporters, because they wouldn't feel the need to create news out of something so boring.

The NFL draft is going to become more "suspenseful" this year, for whatever reason. No more shots of players on the telephone, no more analysts or reporters revealing who is being chosen just seconds before Goodell announces it and no more teams going to Twitter saying what's good for the future. The draft isn't Mad Men—there are no surprises that are going to be ruined. There's nothing to ruin in the first place.