While much of the sporting world has been shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the National Football League has continued to operate normally. While no games or practices are currently taking place, the league has still been open for business.
The 2020 NFL Draft is set to take place later this month, and the league announced what changes will be made to ensure everyone’s safety is a priority.
The 2020 NFL Draft is set to take place from April 23-25, and it will all be done virtually this year. The city of Las Vegas was supposed to host the event, but the league decided to cancel the live event last month. The NFL is planning to award the city with another NFL Draft in the future, possibly as early as 2022.
ESPN and the NFL Network will join forces to broadcast the three-day event taking place in less than two weeks. Bristol, Conn., which is where ESPN is headquartered, will be the official location for the virtual draft.
ESPN has been the broadcasting host of the NFL Draft since 1980. The NFL Network was launched in 2003, and they have been providing draft content as well.
The NFL Network wasn’t a part of the on-site broadcast until 2006. ABC is set to air a separate broadcast on both Thursday and Friday night, before switching to the simulcast of ESPN/NFL Network on Saturday.
Commissioner Roger Goodell will not be at the ESPN campus in Bristol, but he will still be the one announcing the draft selections. Goodell will make the selections from the privacy of his home in Bronxville, NY.
There will be some in-studio commentators working from Bristol during the draft event, and draft hosts will be a part of the show. Other commentators or reporters are expected to join the broadcast from a remote location, or their home.
The announcement from the league ensured that everyone associated with the TV broadcast of the NFL Draft will adhere to social distancing guidelines.
The NFL has also announced that this event will double as what they are calling a “Draft-A-Thon.” The Draft-A-Thon will pay tribute to first responders and health care workers that are helping battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Money that is raised during this event will be donated to six different national nonprofit organizations to aid in their relief efforts from the disease.
The 2020 NFL season is set to begin on Sept. 10 in Kansas City. The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will have the honor of kicking off the season in defense of their title.
The NFL remains confident that they will be able to start the season on time, but they are starting to get some opposition from the public.
Unsure About Return
Seton Hall University recently conducted a poll on various sporting issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, and it appears that a majority of the public is concerned about the resumption of sports. Forty-six percent of those surveyed thought that the start of the NFL season should be delayed, while 36% thought that the season could open on time.
Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed suggested that the NFL should consider postponing their season if there wasn’t sufficient time for the players to train and get in shape for the season.
Offseason workouts are set to begin on April 20 for all but five NFL teams. The five teams with new head coaches were supposed to begin offseason workouts on April 6. The NFL is still working with the NFLPA to come up with a plan of action to allow players to begin to work out.