The NFL will be moving the NFL draft back to May 15 to May 17 next year, according to Adam Schefter. The following two years, the league calendar will begin in early March, with the NFL Combine being moved from its February slot to the middle of March.
There will be plenty of reaction, and I try not to be one resistant to change, but this is just another creep of the sports calendar. Can’t we have May to focus on kid’s baseball games and the end of school and a brief breath of fresh flowery air? The NFL wants to prolong the draft conversation, and now moves the draft directly into the middle of the NBA and NHL playoffs. Further, if the Combine is truly going to be in Mid-March, it will push into either Selection Sunday or the NCAA Tournament opening weekend. It appears as if the NFL wants to further push its “NFL as king” position.
Of course, sports has always been creeping. When the threat of competition drove it the other way, the 1960 NFL Draft actually took place right after Thanksgiving in 1959 to get a jump on the AFL. By the 1967 draft, the first common draft of the AFL-NFL, it had been moved up to Mid-March. The next year, it bounced back to late January, and has crept to April since then. The 1984 draft actually took place on the first two days of May, and has otherwise taken place in mid to late April.
It’s not just the NFL. Mr. October could now qualify you as tearing up the Wildcard round in baseball, college football is no longer constrained by ending near New Year’s Day, and the NBA and NHL playoffs stretch into the summer when they used to be done by Memorial Day. Thursday Night Football every week, Drafts in May, and no offseason. It’s what we want, as judged by television dollars, and so it is what we will get starting in 2014.
[photo via USA Today Sports Images]