That is what NFL owners agreed to give teams to prepare for the next NFL Draft. Or, at least that is what the juggernaut that is the NFL wants us to believe. Well, that isn’t exactly it. The reason they are giving for moving the Draft out of April and into May is because the venue – Radio City Music Hall in NYC – will be in use at the time of the next draft. The reason there’s a conflict is that the Easter Bunny will be in town.
If the NFL moves the Draft three weeks, it will conflict with something much bigger than the Easter Bunny – Mother’s Day. There’s a saying the NFL should be wary of: “If mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It makes me think the NFL is drowning in its own hubris. The owners and the commissioner may be thinking that they are too big to fail, but even the most powerful empires crumble. And often, it is self-induced destruction. There is a very strong possibility that this is what the NFL is doing.
From a communications standpoint, the fact that the story of this move is being turned into a cartoon pitting the NFL vs. the Easter Bunny signals to me that the NFL’s communications staff really doesn’t buy into this decision.
So, why do it? The simple answer is ratings. The NFL, which relentlessly works to protect its position as the #1 sport in America, has a TV network in desperate need of content during the crucial May sweeps. Strategically moving the Draft, which MMQB columnist Peter King calls “the most ridiculously overhyped event on the NFL calendar,” will give the NFL Network the content it needs. The assumption by the NFL is that people will watch because they are addicted to the NFL. The NFL doesn’t care what I, the GMs, or any one thinks the decision, because the league will still be on top. At least, that is what the NFL assumes. And we all know what happens when you assume.
The move is a shrewd one, for sure. However, I can’t help but think that the NFL is on its water skis getting ready to jump over the water the shark is swimming in.