With every other live sport currently on hiatus, the NFL wanted fans to really savor the 2020 draft. While the event seemed like a breeze to watch, it was actually the longest NFL draft in over a decade.
In total, it took 15 hours and 30 minutes. That’s the longest a draft has lasted since 2007.
#NFLDraft2020 took 15 hrs, 30 min, longest since 2007 (18:05)
2020 ranks 11th of 27 drafts since start of 7 rds (1994)
Longest Drafts Since 1994
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) April 27, 2020
You can probably blame the new format for that. With large gatherings being discouraged, the 2020 NFL draft had to take place virtually. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced picks from his basement, and team general managers sat in mostly empty rooms while talking to their scouting departments over the internet.
Given that things were different, it probably took everyone involved a little longer to make sure things were communicated properly. It looks like that was a smart decision, as no team has complained about the way the draft was handled.
By all accounts, everyone seemed satisfied with the new format. Fans turned out in record numbers to watch the event and general managers enjoyed spending more time with their families. There’s already a push for the NFL to do something similar moving forward.
The league would be wise to carry forward some of the success from this year’s draft. While some of the viewership numbers were due to the coronavirus pandemic, the fact that fans were willing to stick with the draft despite its length suggests they enjoyed the format.
The NFL will have to figure out how to carry that success forward once things are (hopefully) normal again next year.
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