Here’s what NFL commish Roger Goodell expects from Kansas City for April 2023 NFL Draft

The eyes of the sports world are on the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles ahead of Super Bowl LVII, which kicks off Sunday night.

But in a little more than two months, that focus will shift to another high-profile event, when Kansas City plays host to the 2023 NFL Draft.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell knows what to expect.

“Great barbecue,” the league’s top boss said Wednesday during his annual Super Bowl news conference, which was held at the Phoenix Convention Center. “I can’t wait.”

When Goodell speaks of Kansas City’s most famous culinary offering, he does so from experience — some of which he gained while wading through the parking lots at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

“One of my favorite things is coming to a Kansas City game and opening the windows as we’re coming in and smelling that barbecue,” he said. “It’s the best.”

Food aside, Kansas City has an opportunity to showcase what makes the area special when it welcomes the NFL and its fans to Union Station April 27-29.

The occasion will mark the seventh rotation since the NFL began moving around the draft to various host cities. Chicago had the honors in 2015 and 2016, followed by Philadelphia (2017), Dallas (2018), Nashville (2019), Cleveland (2021) and Las Vegas (2021). The 2020 NFL Draft was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event’s rotation — it used to take place annually at Radio City Music Hall in New York City — enables each host city to show what makes it unique while also providing more personalized exposure for the NFL and fans alike.

“I always say that moving the draft around was one of our more significant moves because, again, it brought the game closer to our fans,” Goodell said. “It’s another way for them to interact with one of our events and Kansas City is going to be a great host, but the key for them is to do it Kansas City style.”

“I think every city that has the opportunity to host this has to look at it as how can they make this reflect on their community in a positive way to millions of people all over the nation, as well as the globe. And how do they use this platform to advance their communities and their passion in their communities?”

The 2023 NFL Draft should be in good hands when it comes to Goodell’s last point.

Led by president and CEO Kathy Nelson, the Kansas City Sports Commission helped bring the NFL Draft to the KC area. The organization also had a hand in attracting other premier sporting events to the city, such as the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament and, more recently, World Cup soccer games in 2026.

But the NFL is king when it comes to sports in the U.S., and the Chiefs have enjoyed tremendous success in recent years. They’ve rewarded their fans with three Super Bowl appearances in the past four seasons.

Add it all together, and it’s no wonder Goodell believes the 2023 NFL Draft should be another success story for Kansas City.

“Kansas City’s got incredible, passionate fans and a great community,” he said. “I have no doubt, and I’ve heard a lot of the plans — but we’ll obviously focus on that in the next couple of months — that they’re going to do an extraordinary job.

“And the fans that will be coming into town will get a little bit of understanding of that passion in Kansas City. I think that’s great for our event, but it’s also great for football.”