The National Football League has confirmed that next year's Draft will indeed take place two weeks later than usual. The league's second-biggest annual event will be held once again at Radio City Music Hall in New York, but on May 8, 9 and 10, rather than April 24-26.
"The decision was made after discussions with club personnel and key NFL business partners," the league wrote in a press release issued Tuesday. "No decision has been made regarding the dates of the NFL Draft in 2015 and beyond. A variety of alternatives are being explored, teams were told, including holding the Draft at Radio City or at other locations, either in the New York area or in other cities."
This might not mean a whole lot to fans who are swapping one regular spring weekend for another and buying themselves two extra weeks of anticipation, but it means a little bit more from a media perspective. The Draft has been an April staple on the sports calendar for over 30 years, but this move — which may or may not be isolated to next year — moves one of the highest-rated events on the annual sports schedule smack dab into the middle of May sweeps.
And so while commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this month that a scheduling conflict at RCMH factored into the equation here, the reality is that a mid-May Draft is probably something the league prefers.
The league has tossed around ideas for an altered (or expanded) offseason schedule for some time, and this aligns with that objective. The Draft hasn't been held in May since 1979, and this will be the latest Draft in history, dating all the way back to 1936.
When rumors regarding this development emerged last week, Awful Announcing's Joe Lucia pointed out that such a move would bring about even more pre-Draft hype and conjecture. Lucia concluded that the delayed Draft could cause some chaos, and he's right, but it could also benefit the league. And for Goodell and Co., that's the key.