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NFL Draft is now a huge tourist attraction

Murphy Takes 5 is a monthly column written by President and CEO Mark Murphy


On the first Saturday of every month, Mark will write about a topic of interest to Packers fans and the organization, and then answer five fan questions. Fans are encouraged to email Mark with their name and hometown at: ***.*

The NFL Draft, which began in 1936, had a long-time stretch in New York City, from 1965 to 2014. In the more recent years, the Draft attracted large crowds to Radio City Music Hall. The vast majority of people attending the Draft, though, were from the metropolitan New York area. With the decision to move the Draft to Chicago last year, the NFL really changed the nature of the event. Much like the Super Bowl, people now attend the Draft from all over the country. Last year, over 250,000 people attended. Chicago did an outstanding job hosting the event and worked with the League to set up numerous attractions for fans in Grant Park. Packers fans were very prominent in Chicago, with the second-most fans at the Draft behind the Chicago Bears.

After two successful years in Chicago, Commissioner Roger Goodell recently said that it is likely that the League will move the Draft to another city next year. Finalists to host the Draft next year include Philadelphia, Denver and Atlanta. It appears that the League will view the Draft like the Super Bowl and move it to different cities across the League.

We have filed an application with the League to host the Draft. We were not selected as a finalist to host for 2017 and 2018, but are hopeful to be a finalist in 2019 or beyond. We think 2019 would make sense for the Packers since we'll have completed our 100th anniversary season in 2018 and Titletown will be up and running by then. The key really is how the League views the event. If the League views the Draft as a benefit to be spread across the various cities in the League, we can make a strong argument that hosting the Draft in Green Bay would have a much larger impact on Green Bay than it would on any other host city. It would also present a great opportunity for both the Packers (and the League) to highlight the great history and tradition of the Packers (and the League). This history also includes the Draft – the NFL hosted the Draft in Milwaukee in 1940.

It will be very interesting to see how the selection process for hosting the Draft plays out over the next few years. Regardless, it is safe to say that it is no longer just an event for New Yorkers, and it is now a major tourist attraction.

Now, on to your questions:

Bill from Chicago

I read that Adam Gase, the new head coach of the Dolphins, has decided not to have any practices at their rookie minicamp. Do you think this will become a trend in the NFL?

This will become a trend if the Dolphins win the Super Bowl this year. The NFL is truly a copycat league. Seriously, I don't see this becoming a trend, but teams will monitor this closely to see how it benefits the Dolphins. For us, the rookies spend a small percentage of their time on the practice field. We had one practice on Friday and one on Saturday (each are an hour-and-a-half long), and the vast majority of their time was spent in meetings.

Kenneth from La Moure, ND

Hello, Mr. Murphy. First off, thanks for the monthly column and taking questions from fans. I'm not sure how many other Presidents & CEOs do it, but I thoroughly enjoy it and believe it well-resembles the Packers organization and community they have established. Anyway, with the courts reinstating the NFL's four-game suspension on Tom Brady, there's a great deal of discussion of how investigations and disciplinary actions are handled in the current system. Players such as Drew Brees, a well-respected player, are speaking out on Goodell saying, "He is judge, jury and executioner when it comes to all the discipline." If you can, would you explain and enlighten us a little on the current system of how decisions on disciplinary actions are made? Maybe that process is too long to explain in this column, but a short synopsis would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Thanks, Ken, for a great and timely question. You're right, this is a very complicated issue, and I will not get into the details of Deflategate or the personal conduct policy. It is important to note that the main purpose of the appeal in Deflategate was not to punish Brady or the Patriots, but to preserve the League's rights under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The League and the NFLPA agreed to the current disciplinary system in 2011, and the League would want any change in the system to be negotiated with the NFLPA, not decided by an arbitrator. Drew Brees was a member of the NFLPA's Executive Committee in 2011 and was actively involved in the negotiations. During this process, I gained tremendous respect for Drew. It is very rare that a star player like Drew is willing to be that involved in collective bargaining.

Jim from Antigo, WI

I see that most pundits are giving the Packers Bs for this year's draft. What grade would you give the Packers for the draft?

Jim, I would give the Packers (and every other team, for that matter) an incomplete. It really doesn't make any sense to grade a draft the day after the draft ends. Most NFL personnel people will tell you that it takes at least three years to really evaluate the strength of a draft. I realize that the NFL is popular and that people will read almost anything about the draft, but these grades are truly meaningless. Another advantage of waiting three years is that you also can measure the impact of undrafted free agents and late-round picks. As a former undrafted free agent, I admit I might be a little biased in this regard.

Kenneth from New York

What's the status of the concussion settlement? I know that the League negotiated the settlement several years ago.

You're right, Ken, the League reached a settlement with the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit in August 2013. The settlement was then approved by District Court Judge Anita Brody. A number of players appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The Third Circuit ruled for the NFL and approved the settlement last month. I was hopeful that this would be the end of the appeals so that we could start to get money to former players badly in need of assistance. Unfortunately, nine plaintiffs have decided to request an "en banc" hearing of the entire Third Circuit. It is often said that the wheels of justice grind slowly, and this case is certainly proof of that. The settlement monies will not start being paid out until all appeals are exhausted.

Tom from Florida

Mark, I fail to see why you and the League cannot see the obvious. You have all the pieces in place with last year's change to the extra-point scenario. The kick is farther back and not a guarantee to be made. Fans want a new overtime. It is all here now!

  1. Coin toss. Did it as a kid in the yard in the 1960s. Settles who goes first. Second person gets a chance after the first person takes a shot.
  1. Coin-toss winner has option to go for extra-point kick or try for 2. Already, it is a chess match. If I'm going first and I really like my kicker, I make it and I am one point up. But now it is their turn. They can go for 1 to tie or try 2 for the win. Fans are on the edge of their seat.
  1. Second team up goes for 2, scores, wins, game over! If second team up matches the first team result, you go to round two and second team goes first this round. Choice of going first or second continues to alternate each round.
  1. Also, if the first team up kicks and it is blocked, the second team can pick up the loose ball and run it back for 2 points. They win, game over.

We have already seen 60 minutes of football. We want to see the drama of last play wins (buzzer shot, so to speak).

There are other options:

  1. You could choose to kick for 1 point, but you want to take advantage of more open field and spreading the defense. Faking and scoring from the extra-point kick distance is not 2 points, it is 6 points. The other team then gets a chance to go match.
  1. If you set up for 2, you cannot fake it and kick for 1 point that close to the goal unless you drop kick for 1 point. I'd love to see the drop kick back in the game.

We had the drama at the end of the playoff game vs. the Cardinals with our chance to go for 2 and win in regulation. I was screaming GO FOR TWO.

With this overtime, we probably would have gone for two in regulation because we would have probably had to on our very next play in overtime. In other words, even regulation ends with better drama.

After 60 minutes, players are tired and injury risk increases. Go for the drama, finish the game, and get back to tailgating.

I have already been longer with words than I wanted to. If you seriously consider what I presented, you will see many more chess-match options and scenarios. They are all make it or go home, no more move the ball downfield and punt. You did that for 60 minutes.

I was born in 1954. I first remember watching Green Bay in 1960 on a black-and-white TV in Marinette, Wis. As early as 1962 I remember watching the Vince Lombardi show live with Big Al Samson. My father purchased tickets for my brother and me when Coach Lombardi closed in the north end zone and seats became available.

You and your staff are doing an excellent job in Green Bay. I hope to have the opportunity to meet you on my next road trip this fall.

Congratulations, Tom. You have officially set the record for the longest question ever submitted to Murphy Takes 5. I have to admit, your idea is very creative and would certainly add a lot of excitement. There are some similarities between your proposal and the college football overtime rules – each team gets one possession and the play doesn't involve the entire field. I'm a big fan of the college overtime rules, and think it has made college overtime very exciting. The arguments against your proposal would be similar to the arguments against the college overtime – that it is gimmicky and that it is not real football because you do not have kickoffs, punts or use the entire field (or strategic field position).

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