The COVID-19 pandemic altered the way we did so many things in 2020. Take, for instance, the 2020 NFL Draft, which was done virtually with every player, coach, analyst, and NFL staff member in their own spaces and bubbles. While the end result was not nearly as awkward as it could have been, it did rob us of one of the draft’s most quintessential moments, the Roger Goodell Hug and/or Handshake, which he traditionally doles out after announcing a player has been drafted and they join him on the stage. Often one of the most delightfully awkward moments of any draft year, the pandemic somehow found a way to make it even more cringe.
Goodell found a way to make his hugs even more awkward pic.twitter.com/oyTC2Uipog
— Patrick Clay (@patrickclayTV) April 24, 2020
But good news! While we might not be back to the traditional look and feel of the NFL Draft in 2021, we are getting Roger Goodell Hugs & Handshakes back.
GIF: Danny Shelton & Roger Goodell missed a little on the handshake to start pic.twitter.com/Rp1LIxZtLT
— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) May 1, 2015
As NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport first reported, Goodell has been fully vaccinated he will “be allowed to give his famous hugs while greeting players.” That presumably also includes any elaborate handshakes and other greetings aside from hugs that Goodell has taken part in over the years, including getting lifted up off the ground.
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) May 1, 2015
The tradition is said to have started in 2010 when Gerald McCoy walked onto the draft stage and wrapped his arms around Goodell, creating a heartwarming moment that the commissioner and the league love trying to replicate, with varying degrees of success.
It should be noted that only 13 prospects are scheduled to attend the draft next week in Cleveland and Rapoport also said that interactions with Goodell will remain “brief but unscripted.” It might not be much, but gathering around together to watch Roger Goodell be awkward while we all make fun of him on Twitter is exactly the kind of healing that we all need right now.