With the 2020 NFL Draft set to kick off in just a couple of days—today, the league is scheduled to run through a systems check ‘mock draft’ in preparation for the event—we are reaching anxious moments. It is the one live sporting or sporting-adjacent even that is scheduled to take place any time soon, outside of e-sports, anyway.
Seriously, have you seen Sports Center’s Twitter feed recently? They’re showing anything they possibly can, including a mother and son trying about a dozen times before successfully bouncing a pair of ping pong balls off a series of pots and pans, ultimately landing in a pair of cups. This is the actual Sports Center Twitter account, posting this and many things like it, every day. That’s how dry the sports well has become. Everybody is fiending for the draft right now.
Yet we still aren’t 100 percent sure how that will all work, since we’ve never gone through this process before—we’ve never done it in the middle of a pandemic before. Teams have, for example, expressed legitimate concern about security issues with the increased use of technology. Others have been thinking about the possibility of technical glitches and what that could mean for them if they’re on the clock.
According to Pro Football Talk, if a team experiences a genuine technical glitch that would cause them to make a mistake or miss an opportunity of some kind, the league is willing to forgive that. He writes, “the NFL will be prepared to show flexibility in the event that a genuine technical breakdown happens”. He gives the example of a power outage.
“Whatever form it takes, it must be a real breakdown, not an inconvenience or an annoyance or an actual or feigned inability to figure out how to use the available technology”, he goes on to write. “The league is working with all relevant sponsors (like Verizon, Amazon, and Bose) to ensure that, despite everyone taking the office to the home, a legitimate workplace will emerge”.
So basically, make sure your boomer GMs know how to work their Zoom accounts, because even if you don’t know what you’re doing, there is still no excuse. Now, if your house gets struck by lightning or something, then we can talk.
The NFL could have chosen to postpone the draft, which was something that a number of general managers and other personnel reportedly wanted to see happen, for a number of reasons, not the least of which being the lack of proper evaluation time face-to-face with prospects.
That the league made the decision to go ahead anyway means it all rests on their shoulders for what happens. Given that, it’s understandable that they would opt to show leniency as all 32 teams work to adjust to a new, if temporary, normal.