The NFL is an ever-growing industry. Commissioner Roger Goodell realizes this, and has taken steps to steadily increase the league's prominence in the American sports scene, even outside of the normal football season. Of course, the league's premier off-season event, the NFL Draft, has become a three-day festival of intrigue and provides ways for people like Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay to make a living.
In 2010, the league switched from a two-day format, which held rounds one through three on Saturday and rounds four through seven on Sunday, to the current three-day format. This schedule allows the draft to become a prime-time event, with the first round getting top billing on a Thursday night.
But apparently for Goodell, that's not enough.
You thought @NFL Draft was already a big event? Roger Goodell told me today league will consider stretching it to 4 days (still 7 rounds).— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) April 25, 2014
Look, I love the draft, and I always have since getting into the details of football a decade and a half ago. That said, I think the draft's two-day format was perfect. Fans could have true Draft-day parties and invite friends over on Saturday to enjoy all the craziness that is associated with the first three rounds, which took all day, but were a blast.
Besides - how would the draft expand out to a fourth day but still keep a 7-round format? Where do you make a division to split into another day? Would they have round 2 on its own day, rounds 3 and 4 together on day three, then rounds 5-7 on day four? Or something more ridiculous like making the first round in and of itself a two-day event, splitting it up after pick #16?
At some point, Goodell and the league will need to acknowledge that though the fans love football, there are certain times where too much football truly is too much, and it's time to stop expanding for the sake of expanding. In my opinion, this is one of those times. If the NFL wanted to bring the draft back to a two-day weekend event, I would be all for it, but expanding it out to a fourth day seems like it would do more harm than good, at least in the NFL's public image.
Then again, if the league goes through with this plan, they may still achieve the desired result - more money, more eyeballs on the TV during the draft, and more hype, even if people condemn the league for doing it. And really, is there any chance that this is about anything other than money?