For the second consecutive year, NFL Network and ESPN reporters and hosts will avoid giving away picks before Roger Goodell makes them official at next week’s NFL draft.
It’s a policy that on the surface seems pretty trivial but actually means a lot to passionate football fans who have historically polled overwhelmingly in favor of a no-pick-tip approach.
For years, ESPN’s Chris Berman famously would hint at impending picks moments before the commissioner would make the announcement, infuriating fans. And when Twitter came along, the suspense was officially dead. ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s reporter du jour would usually reveal all of the picks well before they were made live.
Of course, reporters from other outlets can still tweet picks as soon as they get them, which puts Schefter and Co. at a bit of a disadvantage, but whatever, this isn’t Watergate. And that goes for fans too, if you step foot onto Twitter during the draft, you should expect somebody to be tipping picks and for it to be RT’d into your timeline. All that matters is that we remember the draft is a made-for-TV, theatrical event. It’s dramatic, and the viewers really seem to buy into that.
This new system gives us a choice. If we really want the picks the moment they’re leaked without the suspense that comes from Goodell at the podium, we can spend the night on Twitter. And if we really want to get that old-school draft feel from the commish at Radio City Music Hall, we can stay offline and turn up the volume on ESPN or NFLN. Or we can do both and just not complain.