If you read the tea leaves, you can see the NFL has designs on spreading its offseason product all over the months of February, March, April and May.
And when they do, the event that will have served as the catalyst/convenient excuse to mobilize was the 2014 Easter Show at Radio City Music Hall.
The league announced Tuesday that, because of the conflict with the Easter Show that would have arisen in late April, the Draft will be moved to May 8-10.
In a release, the NFL announced, “The decision was made after discussions with club personnel and key NFL business partners. No decision has been made regarding the dates of the NFL Draft in 2015 and beyond. A variety of alternatives are being explored, teams were told, including holding the draft at Radio City or at other locations, either in the New York area or in other cities.”
The NFL is interested in maximizing its pull on the American public and the notion of having the draft rotate from city-to-city is, to me, a genius move. And logistically, it’s a layup compared to the hellacious confines of Radio City.
The league announced there are no significant changes to the rest of the offseason events. The NFL Combine will be February 18-25, free agency will begin March 11, the NFL Owners Meetings will be March 23 in Orlando.
The one big change forced by the switch that the NFL glossed over in its release is the fact that incoming rookies won’t be joining their teams for rookie minicamp in early May as they’ve done for years. It will be mid-May now and their orientation to the program before the veterans show up will be sacrificed in 2014.
The league has been angling for years to move the Super Bowl back to President’s Day weekend in mid-February. The once-proposed 18-game schedule would have been the perfect way to make that happen but pushback on that idea was too significant.
In addition to getting the Super Bowl on a holiday, the league would like to move the NFL Combine to March, free agency to early April and have the draft in May.
Next year’s shift to May 8-10 – thanks to a bunch of kids dancing in daffodil costumes – is the first tumbler to fall.