The League

Anthony Stalter
National Blogger

Anthony Stalter

Senior Sports Editor for The Scores Report

Ratings say it all

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I'll admit. I was skeptical, even down right venomous about the NFL's new draft format. I hated it. I thought, "How stupid is it to turn the draft into a Thursday night prime time special? For the love of Pete Rozelle, this isn't "Dancing with the Stars."

But I was wrong -- the new format actually works.

An hour into the first round, teams were already picking in the teens. Normally an hour into the draft, the first six or seven picks haven't even been announced yet. In previous years, I have often felt like I had just got done running a marathon after the first round, instead of witnessing an exciting event. But this year, that feeling changed.

While the new format didn't come without its flaws (how did it feel to be a Bears, Panthers or Vikings fan on the first night and not see one pick?), it's hard to argue that it isn't better for the causal fan, or even the diehard draft nut for that matter. The selections were made faster, the trades were more exciting and at least on the NFL Network, the coverage was tighter. (I can't say the same thing for ESPN, which suffered multiple hiccups along the way.)

The nice thing about the new-look NFL draft (which is something I hated when the new format was first announced) is that the action is delayed between the first and second round. It was exciting knowing that there were two more rounds on Friday night and four more on Saturday. It was fun getting caught up in a new batch of rumors and allowing the hype of the second round to build up. If you're a draft nut like myself, name another time when the second and third round was more exciting than this year. You probably can't.

Has the NFL draft become overkill? Has it gone overboard? Well yeah, and that's how draft fans like it. Chances are that if you didn't like watching the draft past the first or second rounds, then you weren't going to come back on Friday or Saturday anyway. If you're usually not into the event, then you're going to think that everything is overexposed and overdone anyway. But for true draft fans, it's kind of hard not to like how the action was dragged out across three days. It gave you something to look forward to and in between days, it gave you a chance to watch as many YouTube highlights on the prospect that your team chose.

My only gripe is that our great troops didn't have the opportunity to watch the draft without having to wake up in the middle of the night. I know at least one diehard draft fan that got up at 1:30 a.m. just to see what his Lions would do with the No. 2 pick. But maybe next year he can watch the draft with us again from the comforts of his own couch. (Best of luck Jon - we thank you for all that you do.)

Look, the numbers (45.4 million viewers) speak for themselves. Roger Goodell was hoping that turning the first round into a prime time event would be a success and you know what? It was.

By Anthony Stalter  |  April 27, 2010; 10:08 AM ET  | Category:  Draft , NFL , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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