For a sport that has a season that only lasts around five months, the NFL manages to keep us entertained all the year round.
From its offseason starting in March with free agency, then the Draft in April, through to the season start in September and the Superbowl in February, NFL events see us through our yearly calendar. A question that might be raised is, how can we be entertained during the quieter months without a football event on the calendar? Luckily, the NFL has our backs.
Currently, we are living in some unprecedented times. With the Covid 19 pandemic having a grip on the world, “Lockdown” has been put into place in many countries. For many, this lockdown means having to stay at home and wait until the all clear is given to resume normal life again. Inevitably boredom will set in. Options that we normally have to relieve boredom, have now been made very limited to us or even cancelled altogether. This situation is even applied to the world of sport, with many having their seasons postponed or even cancelled. This is where the NFL became extremely fortunate. The Coronavirus took a hold in the U.S towards the end of February/early March. Just missing the Superbowl and starting at the beginning of the offseason. This means, for now, that life can go on as normal for American Football.
This time of year sees free agency begin and the NFL Draft. Free agency remains relatively unaffected whilst the Draft has had a bigger impact on it due to the virus. Unfortunately, the Draft had to cancel its annual event, which was to be hosted in Las Vegas this time around. With the party cancelled, the NFL turned to modern technology to host this event. With Roger Goodell hosting from his basement, the GM’s and coaches had to give their picks from their homes. A unique and possibly once in a lifetime way of doing this process.
With these milestones on the NFL calendar, it is a great time to be following football. These events give sports channels, pundits and fans something to talk about and talking about these things is something the world needs right now. It is a great way to take your mind off everyday life and with the power of social media platforms such as Twitter, a great way to socialise with friends and even make new ones talking about something you love. You have the excitement of which player will sign with what team and who is going to do what in the upcoming Draft.
American Football Twitter is set alight at this point with debates, podcasts, predictions, reviews, previews and fans points of view of what their team needs to do with this upcoming season. For new fans this is a perfect time to join in. Rather than jumping straight in when the season starts, it is a perfect time to learn. New fans get to hear opinions from old fans and can analyse what each team has to offer. Obviously, we know as new fans, things can be a little overwhelming at first. This can be said about most things football, but as it is this time of the year, the Draft is the focus. The process of the Draft can be a little daunting for first time fans but there are ways to find out about who is hot and who is not when it comes to the annual event. A great way for fans, old and new, is to use NFL Game Pass new online feature Social Draft.
Social Draft is a website developed to keep track of which college players were/are being talked about the most on Twitter. Before the Draft it could have been used almost like a real time mock draft, but it is the mentions that would predict where the player ends up. Using this website will give fans (especially new fans) a great insight as to which players are generating the most buzz going into the Draft. Even after the Draft is over and the players have been picked by the teams, the player hype can still be followed. The Social Draft carries on accumulating the data, so again, fans can find out which players are the most talked about and is causing the most excitement leading up to the season. For more Draft entertainment, Game Pass are including more programming which can still be watched on demand afterwards. Programmes include Path to The Draft, a 2020 preview of the top prospects and Top 10 Draft Years, a look into the top ten draft classes of all time. Even after this year’s draft is over, a good chance to learn more about the history of the event.
NFL Game Pass is available everywhere and is a great way to learn more about the sport or have another chance to reminisce over some past glories. Tons of original content and original programming are on the site. Programmes like Hard Knocks, A Football Life and America’s Game give great insight into the history of some of the players and teams. Archive access to last season’s games and beyond are available, full length and highlights. NFL Network provides round the clock news content and shows, giving the opinions of pundits and presenters on what current affairs are happening in the league. RedZone is on every Sunday during the season covering each touchdown and big play as it happens. Now, last season’s RedZone can be watched back on demand. Every programme is On Demand for you to watch back at your convenience. Especially now, this format is a great way to pass the time during Lockdown and the next couple of quieter months.
Now more than ever we need distractions from what is going on in the world. As fans of football, we have been blessed by the NFL. All year every year there is always something to keep fans addicted to this great sport. It is just that now, fans new and old need it. No one knows what will be happening come September, but we can be sure that the NFL will have our backs. Whether it is a new site like Social Draft or more content being added to Game Pass they will not fail to grab our attention somehow. Ultimately, we want new football but if it means staying safe indoors and not bored out of our minds, Game Pass, Twitter and talking on the phone about football will have to do.