New NFL draft format works for viewers

I’ll admit – I was skeptical, even down right venomous about the NFL’s draft format. I hated it. I thought, “How stupid is it to turn the draft into a Thursday night prime time special? For the love of Pete Rozelle, this isn’t “Dancing with the Stars.”

But I was wrong – the new format actually works.

An hour into the draft last night, teams were already picking in the middle of the first round. Normally an hour into the draft, the first six or seven picks haven’t even been announced yet. In previous years, I have often felt like I had just got done running a marathon after the first round, instead of witnessing an exciting event. But this year has changed much of that.

While the new format doesn’t come without its flaws (how was it to be a Bears, Panthers or Vikings fan last night and not see one pick?), it’s hard to argue that it isn’t better for the causal fan. (Or even the diehard draft fan, for that matter.) The selections were made faster, the trades were more exciting and the coverage was tighter. (I don’t need to hear 10 different former athletes or coaches talk about players that they clearly know nothing about, when Todd McShay, Mel Kiper and Mike Mayock are more than enough.)

The nice thing about all of this (which is something I hated when the new format was announced) is that there is still a lot of action remaining for true NFL draft fans. It’s exciting knowing that there are two more rounds tonight and four more on Saturday. It’s fun getting caught up in a new batch of rumors and allowing the hype of the second round build up. If you’re a draft nut like myself, think of another time when the second and third round was more exciting than this year.

My only gripe is that our great troops don’t have the opportunity to watch the draft without having to wake up in the middle of the night. I know at least one diehard draft fan that got up at 1:30 a.m. yesterday morning just to see what his Lions would do at No. 2. Maybe next year he can watch the draft with us again from the comforts of his own couch. (Best of luck Jon – we thank you for all that you do.)

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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