We are now almost two weeks away before the NFL Draft and now we know how this draft is going to go down. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced this week that team officials will not be able to conduct the draft from their team facilities. Rather general managers will have to draft from their homes and not have their scouting staff with them. So this basically is a fantasy football draft now come to life. This already doesn’t sound great, but the latest report from Dan Graziano of ESPN gives more details as to how team’s are going to technologically prepare for this draft to make sure nothing goes wrong.
Graziano reports that there will be multiple tests of this new system and with “several safeguards” put in place.
“One safeguard will be a conference call with all 32 teams that will be in progress throughout the draft. Hypothetically, if a general manager is hooked up to the call via landline and his internet connection cuts out, he would be able to unmute that call and announce his pick in a forum in which every other team could hear it. Email is another option teams will have for sending in picks if there are online connection issues.”
Oh my god this is horrible. The idea that if god forbid your teams general manager has a crappy internet connection he would then have to announce his pick to all 32 teams is pretty embarrassing. Also another worst case of teams having to EMAIL their pick!? The future of your franchise could be determined via email. What a horrible and strange reality we are living in. Well if everyone is just going to on a conference call, why not have the NFL Draft brought to you by Zoom! I get that this is what needs to happen in order for the draft to go on as scheduled, but you would think for a multi billion dollar league that they would do better than “just draft from a computer at home.”
But it’s not only general managers who are feeling worried about this draft. Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has brought up concerns about how secure this technology is and how teams could be hacked. Now before you laugh this off, there is some actual real life concern to this. One of the most popular video conference apps right now is Zoom. Recent reports in the last few days show that the app has had security issues and personal information exposed by those who used the app. The hope is that teams will be wise as to avoid the app, but the NFL hasn’t given more details about the kind of technology that will be used. If they use something like Zoom, there is a good chance some type of hacking could happen if the league doesn’t haven’t good enough cyber security.
The NFL still has two weeks to iron out details and make sure everyone is on board with the plan going forward. But make no mistake about it. If the technology and cyber security aren’t up to par, this could be one of the worst drafts we could ever see. Teams potentially missing their picks, trades not happening in time, internet connections cutting out. This all could happen if the league doesn’t take the proper precautions. We will remember this 2020 NFL Draft one way or another. Hopefully we can look back on this draft years from now and say at the very least it was successful.