What is the name of Bill Belichick’s dog?
If you didn’t know it was “Nike”, you were probably sleeping under a couch and definitely were in the minority -- as in you didn’t watch the 2020 NFL Draft.
The dog was among the stars of this weekend’s high risk, high reward draft.
Normally, the NFL Draft is as much about hugs, kisses and big crowds and live interviews as it is building an NFL franchise. Zoom Conference calls may be fun for the family gatherings, but they are tough to watch – and sometimes hear – on live TV. The best part of the NFL Draft, at least over the Mel Kiper Era, has been the pomp, circumstance, bells, whistles, videos, commentary, celebrations and, last by definitely not least, the incessant booing of Commissioner Roger Goodell. It’s made-for-TV reality programing at its best.
Three-quarters of those drafted will be out of the NFL in two years. But that doesn’t matter during the NFL’s three-day draft spectacle, which has turned into a Super Bowl for ESPN and the NFL Network.
While there are many self-proclaimed pro football experts/gurus who grade the draft, I'm giving it an 'A'. Goddell, ESPN and the incredible array of IT folks pulled off the virtual extravaganza.
True, they had a captive audience, as in America was begging for anything after a month old games and great finishes. The draft reached more than 55 million viewers over the three days with the average audience for the weekend of over 8.4 million viewers -- 35 percent over the 2019 draft.
What did fans love? They loved the players’ family shots. They loved Bill Belichick’s plane-Jane kitchen shot from his Nantucket home, in particular the shot of Nike sitting in his chair while one of the picks was made.
Most of all, it seems the fans were suckers for the many children surrounding the coaches and general managers.
The draft made these guys, the decision-makers, look human, like the people watching.
There were glitches and delays when analysts were going back and forth, but they were miniscule compared to the entire product. We got our highlights; we got our stats. We got our 40-yard dash times. We got our family celebrations after picks were made. And we got those same “hope springs eternal” draft day feelings that these 22-year-old kids will save our franchises.
The NFL got lucky. It not only survived the weekend, but it thrived. GOing forward we may get, per orders of Goodell, more of the human side of the game.
And definitely more “Nike” shots.