Los Angeles – The Super Bowl is the biggest spectacle in American football. Then comes the draft. Actually.
Because the huge event, for which around 600,000 people travelled to Nashville a year ago and which should have drawn hundreds of thousands of fans in Las Vegas, will only become a TV show in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic – if at all. So far, the NFL has been adamant about distributing the young players to the teams from April 23 to 25. But the plan is criticized.
One thing is certain: if the draft actually takes place in three weeks’ time, it will be the most complicated, unusual and risky issue in NFL history.
What is the draft about?
In contrast to European football, where the best talents move to the clubs with the best offer, young players in the NFL have no say when it comes to their first professional team. In theory, the best players go to the worst teams. The league wants to create equal opportunities over the years and prevent series winners or series losers. The Super Bowl champion Kansas City may, therefore, choose a player in the first round as the last of the 32 NFL teams.
Why is the April meeting criticized?
Mainly for two reasons: Because of the current travel restrictions within the NFL and because many people find it inappropriate to celebrate the selection of players in the middle of the pandemic with an (if only broadcast on TV) show. «There is a lot of misery, a lot of suffering right now, opinions differ as to whether you should have entertainment like the draft. But of course, it can also be a good distraction, »said ex-NFL professional Sebastian Vollmer of the German Press Agency.
Why is the draft much more complicated than normal this year?
This has to do with travel restrictions in particular. Trainers, scouts, managers – they’re all banned from driving to potential players because of the NFL pandemic. And the players are also not allowed to join the teams, for example, to be medically examined. “Now you can only analyze players using films, but many colleges don’t play pro systems,” said two-time Super Bowl winner Sebastian Vollmer. «I think it will be tough for the scouts. A mistake in the upper rounds can set a franchise back for years. » Clubs are licensees of leagues in US sports and therefore franchises.
In addition: Neither trainer nor manager will be allowed to be on-site at the draft, but from offices, sometimes working from home. Short-term deals with other teams in response to what just happened are becoming so much more difficult. In the Bundesliga there was once spotted about defective fax machines – the NFL may soon make fun of a serious misfire in the WLAN.
Who is particularly affected by the situation?
Players who have played at smaller colleges and are not known as much, or footballers who have been injured recently. Tua Tagovaiola, for example, takes advantage of every opportunity to advertise on its own behalf. The 23-year-old quarterback is one of the most talented players in the United States and is considered one of those athletes whose commitment can change a team for years to come. Only: The left-hander broke his hip in November and hasn’t played for months. No team in the NFL can check whether he is really fit with his own doctors.
The situation is also difficult for new coaches. This affects Kevin Stefanski from the Cleveland Browns, Matt Rhule from the Carolina Panthers or Joe Judge from the New York Giants. “We have plans for this eventuality, then for this and then for this,” said Stefanski. “We try to be prepared for everything.”
Are there also profiteers?
“Teams that have few changes and need little new players to integrate will have an advantage if you can’t train for a long time. Others are just a few months behind, »said ex-professional Sebastian Vollmer. If you need a quarterback now, like the New England Patriots or the Los Angeles Chargers, you probably won’t have a chance to get used to playmakers and teammates for weeks.