Two weeks ago, the Super Bowl LV marked the end of the 2020 NFL season. The fans are already preparing for the next season and are looking forward to the upcoming NFL Draft 2021, which will be moderated by Cleveland at the end of April.
The NFL and the City of Cleveland are currently planning to hold the event in person, unlike last year’s fully virtual draft which received many mixed reviews from fans. According to David Gilbert, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission (GCSC), the draft is “full speed ahead”.
Right now, the most immediate concern with including the personal draft is to manage it amid the ongoing pandemic. The GCSC is learning from the methods Tampa used in hosting the Super Bowl.
Tampa hosted around 22,000 fans in their stadium with a total of 65,890 seats. The prevailing fear in Tampa was that gathering so many fans would turn the Super Bowl into a coronavirus superspreader event. That concern grew as the fans who adhered to the mask mandate were largely inconsistent.
In light of the way they deal with fans in Tampa, Gilbert prioritizes the safety and health of fans. He plans to find a way to properly enforce a mask mandate in the crowd, adding similar measures and precautions that will be in place over fans in the NBA’s Disney World bubble last summer.
According to the GCSC, the City of Cleveland and the NFL plan to hold the NFL Draft Experience concurrently with the draft, as long as all safety measures and precautions are in place. The event is a free football festival where fans can take part in exhibitions, games, signing sessions with individuals from all teams, giveaways, and more.
I spoke to Yash Purohit, a big NFL fan, in the freshman year of the current Case Western Reserve University, about his thoughts on the NFL draft in Cleveland.
Q: “What do you think of the NFL Draft taking place in person in Cleveland this year?”
A: “Since the NFL draft is such an amazing event no matter where it is, and I can see a draft in Chicago – assuming it was the NBA draft for a couple of years – I think it’s pretty good, and pretty amazing that the NFL has been pretty successful at dealing with COVID-19.
“You can have the design in person this year. To be honest, I’m a pretty big fan of the fact that they actually keep the design personal this year. I’m very optimistic that it could go through without too many problems, and I’m also quite amazed that the NFL was pretty good at it. With COVID-19 dealing with the draft in general, especially since last year, they were pretty ahead of the curve and they were one of the first big events to go virtual. I remember last April when they had a draft that was all done online. I remember getting really good feedback, at least in the first round of the draft. “
Q: “If Cleveland were to implement the correct COVID-19 security measures, would you consider participating in the NFL draft and events this spring?”
A: “As a huge Chicago Bears fan, I would be absolutely ready to see the NFL draft in person in Cleveland this spring. I think it is one of the best events to see the bright future of our franchise and I would be very happy to have this opportunity. “
The 86th NFL Draft will take place in Downtown Cleveland between April 29 and May 1. Other events and celebrations will take place on the shores of Lake Erie near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and FirstEnergy Stadium, where the city recently demolished two warehouses to make room for current and future Cleveland Browns events create.