NFL Seeks to Return to Normalcy With Draft

Return To Normalcy!

That’s not exactly the slogan for the NFL draft being staged Thursday through Saturday in Cleveland. 

It’s more at the top of the league’s wish list as it allows some prospects and fans to attend the festivities — yes, there are those going on by the shores of Lake Erie. 

Sure, the draft is the NFL’s most popular event other than the Super Bowl and opening day. And it being held virtually in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic was a most emphatic sign that very little would be normal for pro football last year. 

Yes, that draft was a big hit thanks to Commissioner Roger’s Goodell’s “come join me” hosting from his man cave, and the honest, unstaged reactions by so many players when they were selected. 

And the NFL is incorporating some of that into this year’s proceedings, though Goodell will be on hand in Cleveland to hug or fist-bump the dozen or so prospects in attendance.

Still, the key here for the league is that, just as last season was completed on time, and the Super Bowl — albeit scaled down from a mega-event — was held on schedule, this draft will be as close as currently possible to the real thing.

“We have to do this,” says Jon Barker, NFL head of live event productions. “We need to get people out and back to live events and to experience things like this, and the draft is one of those great events that can bring everybody together and do that.”

Another sign of business as usual is many, perhaps all the clubs, will be back at their facilities to conduct the selections. There are requirements and coronavirus protocols in place, of course.

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