I'm Not a Fan of the New NFL Draft Format

Gene ZarnickCorrespondent IApril 26, 2010

Last Thursday I couldn't wait for the workday to end knowing that the NFL draft was going to be on that night.

Most NFL fans have been anticipating this day since the post-game Super Bowl press conferences.  We've seen thousands of mock drafts, multiple combine viewings, and more than enough bitch fighting between McShay and Kiper to have us overly ready for every possible outcome of each round.

7:00pm came quick.

I had a major dilemma as two of my favorite teams, the Cavs and the Pens, both had a playoff game that began at this time, plus the draft was going to begin in thirty minutes.  To makes things even more complicated I came up with the genius idea that I was going to live blog about all three events, thinking that it would be easy to flip through three games, while also continually updating my web page.

The live blogging lasted a solid thirty five minutes.  I put down the keyboard and grabbed the remote; totally focusing all my attention on the television.  Cleveland looked horrible from the start and the Pens were losing 2-1 after the first period.  The only thing that I had positive going for me was seeing Jimmy Clausen fall down the draft and getting to witness Mel Kiper Jr. repeatedly try to defend Jimmy Clausen as #4 on his big board.

As the draft continued on I seemed to like it less and less.  A major reason for my distaste was ESPN's coverage.  We definitely don't need a five man team to discuss every single pick and have everyone talk over everyone else, but the worst part is that we never got to see the commissioner actually state the pick.  It was so annoying to be sitting there waiting and the next pick's clock was started and we still didn't know the previous pick.

The Cavs game became competitive again.

I'm feverishly flipping channels between the three programs and the fourth quarter was coming to a close with Cleveland making a last ditch effort.  They cut it down to one with four seconds left.  After one made and one missed free throw, Anthony Parker had an identical looking half court heave as Gordon Heyward did in the NCAA title game that missed.  A very disappointing ending, but one event off my slate.

I go back to the draft and witness the remaining picks.  I can't remember if the Tebow pick was before or after the Cavs/Bulls conclusion, but that caused an uproar throughout the set. The first round of the draft commenced and there was no Jimmy Clausen pick.  No Colt McCoy, no Sergio Kindle, no Arrelious Benn or Taylor Mays; I was eager to see where all these potential first rounders would fall.

I then remembered that we only got to witness a single round.  I now transitioned over to the Pens game already disappointed that I only got to see 32 picks and then I had to endure another disheartening loss in triple OT.  Maybe it just wasn't my night.

Maybe it was the combination of the Cavs and Pens both losing that made me hate the Thursday prime time single round spectacle, but I was not a fan of it.  I'm used to waking up on Saturday morning and getting some unneeded draft coverage in before the real thing begins and then getting to witness the first few rounds.  I don't want to have to partition off three separate blocks of time on three separate days to watch all of the draft.

I was fine with the old way.  I guess the new format brought more viewers, but were there really millions of more people watching rounds 2-7 then the amounts that normally watch it.  I just can't see tons of people wanting to skip out on their Friday night to sit at home and watch rounds two and three.

Give me the draft how we had it.  With the NHL and NBA playoffs going on we already have enough great sporting events going on that I don't want to miss.  I want to see the first three rounds together; I don't really care if teams have a full day to trade picks and strategize.  Did we really get that much more excitement out of it?

For people who typically don't watch the draft then you were probably entertained by the event, but for the diehards who normally watch rounds 1 through 7 like me, then we'll watch it any day of the week at any time of the day.  I'd just rather see it less disconnected.

So sorry Roger Goodell, for once I'm not impressed by one of your new ideas to try and improve the NFL.  What's next? Each round of the draft on a single day of the week or changing Super Bowl Sunday to Super Bowl Saturday?

Oh wait, Super Bowl Saturday would actually be the greatest idea.