If there is one universal truth to video chat, it’s Murphy’s Law. If something can go wrong, it will go wrong.
Something is bound to go wrong with the 2020 NFL Draft, right? Hell, there’s awkward screw-ups even when they manage to get all 32 teams in the same room.
But, the NFL is going to try and do the whole process over a conference call? Personnel can’t be in the same building as each other? There are more self-imposed communication barriers than ever in an event that partially determines the fate of all 32 franchises.
This year’s NFL Draft has the potential to be high comedy.
There have already been signs pointing towards disaster.
Text from a participant on the NFL’s mock draft that started at 1 pm EST. “Mock draft today already technical glitch w Cincinnatis 1st pick!!! Brutal.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 20, 2020
This column will serve as a list of the most conceivable errors that could occur during the draft. This research is based on 20+ years of watching the NFL and about 10+ years of sporadically using Skype, Facetime, Zoom, etc.
Hot Mics could be either be damaging or hilarious, depending on the person. Damaging if it has something to do with the draft, and they tip their hand. Hilarious if it is something wildly personal and private.
Jerry Jones, yelling over a hot mic, “nobody was interested in a trade for Dak Prescott?” Damaging. Jerry Jones yelling over a hot mic to his assistant that he hasn’t had his caviar-scotch enema for the week?
It already happened in rehearsal.
Text from a GM during this mock draft “there are early communication issues because 32 of us GMs are on conference call and we didn’t hit mute. Sounds awful”
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) April 20, 2020
“Am I Muted?”
“Can you hear me?”
It’s not a video call until these bad boys come out. There’s just something about video calls that throws people off because they rarely come out when you’re just talking on the phone. Sensory overload, hearing AND seeing someone, I suppose.
Imagine if someone tries to announce their pick as their pick timer is about to expire, they panic, yell the pick, realize they’re muted, un-mute, come back with an
“Am I muted?”, mutes again, they start pressing random buttons, they accidentally leave the call, and the Jets lose their pick. Because that just seems like a Jets-esque scenario.
More Than One Person Talks At The Same Time
I promise this will happen way more than once because video calls are somehow harder than having an actual, in-person, face-to-face conversation with someone.
It’s most likely to occur after a pick is explaining how grateful he is to be drafted, and whoever is hosting tries to interject. The player stops talking, waiting for the host to speak, then no one is talking, and there’s dead air.
And Roger Goodell fines the player for it for some reason because it’s the NFL and the NFL Draft.
Stay In Your Lane, NFL
Meaning, don’t try anything fancy.
One person (GM, coach, owner, celebrity, etc.) literally saying your team’s pick out loud in their living room is quite enough.
Don’t try and cram twenty people into your webcam’s field of vision. Don’t try to share your screen for some sick graphic or video an intern put together.
And for the love of God, don’t go nuts with the backgrounds. They’re the most distracting factor of video conference calls these days. They’re also the most unnecessary.
Let me paint you a picture.
If you’ve ever done a fantasy football draft (or really any fantasy sport, for that matter), you’re probably familiar with the self-explanatory phrase “auto-draft.” It’s a handy feature when you’ve got that one friend that just can’t find a way to be present for his draft pick.
Just flip on auto-draft for their team and forget about them.
They will automatically pick players based on a predetermined list of players. Usually, the players are listed from most valuable to least valuable, in terms of potential fantasy value.
In the end, they get their roster, and you don’t have to wait on their entire pick clock to tick down when everyone knows they aren’t making a pick.
If you’ve ever played in a more serious, hardcore league, it’s not unheard of to flip that list of players upside down to dissuade people from using the feature.
That is, instead of assuming you want Theo Riddick as a flex in the middle rounds, the program assumes you want a free agent kicker that has bounced between practice squads since 2017 and can’t decide which kicking foot is his strongest.
Now, what if the Browns lose connection on the clock in the second round. Instead of announcing the pick for that linebacker they need, they just lose connection to the call.
And, since in this particular scenario they’re on auto-draft and the list has been flipped, they are assigned Kristian Wilkerson, the 95th best receiver in this receiver class from Southeast Missouri State. Pay Kristian his second-round money, Jimmy Haslam.
Mouth Doesn’t Match The Sound
This is a much more realistic byproduct of connection issues than my auto-draft scenario above. It’s also much less fun/off the wall, but very annoying and noticeable, nonetheless. It will happen at least once.
Dumb Advertising Plugs
A specific inferior hard seltzer brand is already trying to involve themselves in this whole fiasco. Please note that this particular brand is FAR less enjoyable than a cold, refreshing Truly Hard Seltzer. We love our sponsors.
The NFL Draft will be without an important tradition. And we just can't let that stand. Record your boos then post & tag @budlight and #BooTheCommish. We’ll deliver the boos to the Draft, and for each #BootheCommish thru April 25, we’ll donate $1 to NFL Draft-a-Thon up to $500K. pic.twitter.com/fnvcYDpZPW
— Bud Light (@budlight) April 20, 2020
Props to this inferior hard seltzer brand for using charity as justification for viral marketing, I guess. Always warms the heart when these monolithic companies team up to give an iota of their income back to the people.
Also, just putting it out there right now, Verizon and Microsoft are going to be brought up more times than you can even imagine, given the nature of this event.
Pets, kids, thong hanging off the dresser. All possibilities.
Not so much on the NFL Draft side of things.
These GM’s coaches, owners, reporters, etc. will have absolutely immaculate backgrounds that have been schemed on for weeks.
But the players getting drafted? Everything is fair game. Hell, Laremy Tunsil went 13th overall hours after the video of him smoking the gas mask bong got posted. Do we think something goofy going on in the background is going to worry any of these guys after they’ve already been drafted?
Bonus points if someone is in their car talking on headphones after they’ve been picked. Probably not a bad idea to just remove all possible background variables and sounds.
Obligatory NFL Controversy
Come on; it’s the NFL Draft, there’s always some sort of controversy going on. And there’s just no way this goes off without a hitch. So just as a coverall in case I missed something above, I’ll include this last bit here so that I can say “I told you so.”