• phil cantor/@osgphil

Do we really need a Boat Ferry to the NFL Draft Red Carpet?


Rendering of the Las Vegas Stage

Ok...the NFL has a lot of problems, but getting people to watch their annual player draft in April is very much NOT one of them.


The event, once held in a small conference room inside of a hotel has grown to the point where it takes over cities and forces local taxpayers in true NFL fashion to help fund the event.


In 2019, there was the kerfuffle with residents in the City of Nashville after the NFL helped convince the city to move/take down a bunch of highly prized trees because they were "In the way".....the city didn't bother to relay any of this information to residents who were less than thrilled about it once they found out.


There have been attempts to have picks called or brought to the stage by animals, broadcasts on not one, not two--but three networks at the same time, blimps, drones and other assorted showy gimmicks done just because they can.


Amazingly, none of them will top what the NFL, the Las Vegas (Oakland) Raiders and the City of Las Vegas have planned for 2020....



Yes, that's right. A Pontoon boat which will ferry players to a floating stage where they will show off their outfits for an adoring public with the famous Bellagio Fountains raining just a short distance away. I'm oddly curious to see how this will be executed how it will work if multiple players show up together at the same time.


I've only been to Las Vegas once, and yes, we walked over to the fountains at The Bellagio which were pretty cool to see. But if memory serves, the standing area to watch is quite a distance from where this looks like it will be. Plus if there is any sort of breeze, it seems like the stage and everyone on it would be awfully damp and slightly wet.


But what do I know?


The "Strip" a.k.a--the road that bisects the primary Hotel district in Las Vegas will be shut down for THREE DAYS while the draft takes place which should make for some uh, logistical challenges for anyone there who does not want to participate in this event.



Imagine not being an NFL fan and having a trip to Vegas booked for the end of April...only to find out you are going to have to work around not being on the strip.


Listen, I don't pretend to understand the incredibly morbid fascination with the draft--but I don't get the fawning "Star" ratings for College Football recruiting either. I would argue you can make a guess about how good a 23-year old will be moving from College to Grown Ass-man football, but you really don't have any way to know for sure.


It's less of reach than guessing how a high schooler will adapt to college, but it's still a guess.


How many Heisman Trophy winning Quarterbacks have gone on to NFL stardom? Ten of the last 17 Quarterbacks to win the Heisman have gone on to successful NFL careers. Not a good percentage, is it....


Yes, this is more about the event rather than the players, I know. The event has mushroomed to gargantuan size and become a "Bid Upon" event where cities now openly compete for the right to host.


I guess in some respects, it's about "Marketing" or "Promotional" opportunities which I sort of get. There are claims of up to $50 million to be earned by cities "Hosting" the event, which I don't buy...but the event does bring tourist business into towns. I'm not an economist so I don't exactly know the formula for figuring out how much money comes in from 20 or 30 or 40,000 people visiting a given place for a weekend but there are plenty of people in that business who think the windfall is grossly overstated.


No matter what I say here, I'll still watch some of the 1st round and probably some later draft coverage, more than likely without the audio up. I don't give a crap about measurable things like how fast a guy does a "Shuttle Run" or "Cone Drill" or 40-yard dash. But I am curious to see who my Miami Dolphins draft and what the adopted hometown Atlanta Falcons do.


So, take my bitching with a grain of salt--if the draft is your thing, good on ya. I just wonder why the need for the flashy show when people are going to watch, no matter what kind of crazy presentation you put on.....

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