While the sports world has hit the pause button, the NFL continues to march along. With the 2020 Draft just days away, the event might emerge as the biggest day in sports this year.
The 2020 NFL Draft, which begins on April 23, might very well be the single most important date on the sports calendar for all fans, and not just those who follow football. For a few glorious days, sports fans can revel in something other than what has been dominating the news cycle. For a few glorious extra days, talk can be about football, who got better, and who got worse.
It’s needed now more than ever. With the sports world on hiatus, the National Football League will provide a much-needed distraction. The conversation can be as hyperbolic as needed about your favorite NFL team. If you’re a Cincinnati Bengals fan, you can soak in the majesty of the first pick overall, Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. In Arizona, Cardinals fans can debate the choice of either an offensive lineman or a wide receiver.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is in a unique position. His league has the opportunity to help lead the reopening of the sports world. With MLB, the NBA, and the NHL still trying to figure out what comes next, football has a chance to start the discussion. At a time where normal is not part of the equation, an adjusted version led by an innovative league could pave the way for that all-important question, “what comes next.”
The league has done an admirable job in keeping the fanbase engaged. Free agency was about as good as it has ever been in the last few years. The draft, though expected to be radically different, keeps the NFL on a timeline that could promise a regular season at some point in 2020. To his credit, Goodell has done a masterful job in making sure football remains at the forefront of all professional sports in simply finding a way back to the fans.
Without question, the NFL Draft will deliver the tonic fans need at just the right time. In what seems like a world gone mad and a glass seemingly half-empty every day, football continues to defy our newest version of normal. It keeps the lights on and provides hope for a better day. For reasons all its own, April 23 may end up being the biggest day on the sports calendar in this newest version of 2020.