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The 2005 NFL Draft - by Zennie Abraham
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Thanks to Frank Supovitz, SVP of Special Events for the NFL, Greg Aiello, Vice President of Public Relations of the National Football League, and Leslie Hammond, VP of Media Relations for the NFL, I was able to cover the 2005 NFL Draft. Here's my account - Zennie Abraham, Chairman and CEO, Sports Business Simulations.
The 2005 NFL Draft Part 1 - "Reality TV at Its Best"
Note: click here to visit NL Scouting for the entire list of NFL Draft picks and news on the 2006 NFL Draft.
The 70th National Football League Selection Committee meeting held at Jacob J. Javitz Convention Center is an American slice-of-life, and one example of why the NFL is the most successful sports organization in the World.
My objective in coming to my first draft was to give SBS visitors a"behind-the-scenes" view of the event. When I was preparing for my trip to New York and the Draft, I could not find any account of what it was like to attend this meeting online. Oh, sure, there are sentences here and there, but nothing that gives one the feel of what it's like to be here. This article should change that. I've always enjoyed Vanity Fair Columnist Dominic Dunne's work (even though I don't always agree with him), so I thought I'd play him at the NFL Draft.
NFL Draft Fans at Javitz Entrance
I arrived at the Javitz Convention Center at 10:15 Saturday morning and stepped out of my cab to a throng of football fans waiting to get in. No, they didn't have to pay; the league provided ticket passes on a first-come, first-served basis.
Confused about the entry point for the media, I asked a couple of security people who then guided me inside. Once there, I walked over to the media check-in table, where one of the NFL's representatives gave me a large folder of materials: two large binders containing bios on each college football player being considered by the 32 teams of the NFL, along with two equally large, yet stapled, books containing news clips on each player. I also received a pass that permitted access to various areas on the main floor of the ballroom housing the NFL Draft, and the Interview Room adjacent to it.
The Vast Javitz Main Hall
Onward to The Scene
10 pounds heavier from the books, my badge allowed me to walk down the escalator and past an army of security people and along a long green walkway to the large double doors leading to the ballroom.
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Walking into the ballroom was a sensory experience, not unlike that of a boxing match. One is first struck by powerful beams of light from above, made all the more intense by the lack of lights to fully illuminate the room itself. The spot lights point to various parts of the room: the NFL Draft podium and stage, the team table area, and the ESPN Sports television staging area. Then there are even more"fill" lights for the stage itself. It's immediately clear, even to the first-time draft attendee, that this is a made for TV event. You would be forgiven if you thought you walked into the staging of a heavy weight professional fight.
The View From My Seat
Finding My Seat
I must admit to not a wee bit of confusion after I came into the room. I didn't know where to go, even though my badge read "Press Box Area A and Interview Room." See, the whole experience was such a shock to my visual system, that I didn't see the signs marked "Press Box Area A." Plus, even though people were still not seated, they were filing in, and NFL and CSC Events personnel, Javitz reps, ESPN people, celebrities, and well -- you name it -- were walking in, out, and round the room.
As a result, I felt kind of like Han Solo guiding the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid field: I didn't know where people were coming from next, or where I was supposed to go. So I walked further and deeper into the room, past ushers and light stands and bleacher seats, until I came to the team table area. So, even more confused, I asked a bespectacled brunette woman -- who had an "NFL: Draft" clipboard and the good sense to wear earth tone colors similar to mine -- for assistance.
NFL Draft Part One
| NFL Draft Part Two
| NFL Draft Part Three
| NFL Draft Part Four
| NFL Draft Part Five
| NFL Draft Part Six
| NFL Draft Part Seven