The draft of the NFL is one of the few sporting events that remain standing in the storm of the COVID-19. Commissioner Roger Goodell will make the announcement of the choice of the 32 teams live in the basement of his home, rather than in the sumptuous décor of the Bellagio fountains of Las Vegas, as originally planned. For fans of sport including the stomach crying out for food, it is a detail. As of Thursday evening, the first round will get underway when the Bengals of Cincinnati, unless a transaction at the last minute, will launch the ball. A ball without the artifices to which the NFL has accustomed to its followers, but any opportunity to dance is more than welcome in this time of uncertainty. So how will this first draft completely virtual ? Here is a portrait in 10 points of what awaits the enthusiasts.
1. Joint Production
For the first time, the network ESPN and the NFL Network will join forces to present the event, live from the studios of ESPN. Analysts of the two chains will join to the content, of the house. As mentioned in the introduction, the commissioner will preside as usual, the session selection hopes, but at home, in the State of New York. It will be the announcement of the first-round.
2. Everyone connected
Since the headquarters of the teams are closed, the decision-makers of the 32 clubs besogneront also of the house and will be interconnected via a modified version of the application Teams, from Microsoft. A separate circuit will also allow teams to communicate with people from the NFL.
3. A technician team
Each team will designate a person responsible for the final decision to the draft. This “breeder” (usually the director general) will benefit from the presence of a computer technician to troubleshoot in case of need. For the past few days, tests have been carried out and a draft mock has been completed to validate the reliability of the equipment.
4. The delivery of choice
The NFL usually works to the former at the draft with a team leader to deliver a card to the league, on which appears the name of the selected player. This time, the “coach” of each team will be connected with the league via a private channel and encrypted. In the event of a problem, the choice will be revealed by phone or email.
5. 58 guests
The league has invited 58 hopes to participate in the exercise, of their home. The necessary equipment has been installed in these so that they can deliver their ads via video conference when recovered. The players invited have been informed that gatherings of more than six people in their house would not be tolerated. Is this deposit to be respected to the letter ?
6. Participation of supporters
Hard to forget the enormous crowds that the draft has collected in the last few years in Nashville, Dallas and Philadelphia. This will of course not be the case this year, but it seems that each selection to be announced by the commissioner will be accompanied at the bottom of the screen, a montage of a dozen fans of each team who will respond.
7. No additional time
Despite rumours that the league gives more time to the teams than usual to make their choices, this will not be the case. Each team will have 10 minutes to unveil his selection in the first round, then seven minutes in the second round, five minutes for rounds 3 to 6, and four minutes for the seventh round.
A last chance to fully look is certainly a lot of challenges. Of course, some fear that the pips techniques come to change the presentation of television, but most of all, the communication between the teams and the league. Others also fear that their network is hacked by other teams, as was expressed by the head coach of the Ravens, John Harbaugh.
9. The exchanges
The fans have been accustomed to multiple exchanges which make the draft more exciting. Since the decision-makers of each team will be cloistered at home, the exercise could become more tedious, without the benefit of consultations instant. For example, the general manager of the Chargers, Tom Telesco, has even suggested that if it is held by video conference and his phone rings for an exchange, it may need to pass the call to one of his sons.
It promises !
10. The schedule
The first round will be presented on Thursday evening, 20 h. rounds 2 and 3 will take place Friday, from 19 h. rounds 4 to 7 will, however, take place Saturday from noon.