Roger Goodell will be presiding on the NFL Draft from the coronavirus-safe confines of his man cave in Westchester County on Thursday night – joined by a few socially distancing technicians for the virtual extravaganza, according to a report.
The NFL commissioner — who ordered all team facilities closed on March 26 and has extended that ban indefinitely — will announce the draft picks from the basement of his Bronxville home, The Journal News/lohud.com reports.
“It’s the first fully virtual draft,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the news outlet. “It’s different, but so too are these times. We’ve adapted and we’ve embraced the challenge to do this.”
The draft, which last year drew more than 600,000 people in Nashville, will be beamed across the nation to sports-starved fans from a solitary camera focused on Goodell while selectors and prospects sit in their homes during the spartan affair.
The league has dispersed 122 tech kits around the US, the news outlet reported.
There will be one in the homes of all 32 coaches and general managers, in addition to 58 provided to the top college prospects, including projected No. 1 overall pick, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.
The kits will allow them to broadcast from their homes — with Goodell’s garage serving as a de-facto production truck staffed with no more than seven or eight technicians following CDC guidelines, according to The Journal News/lohud.com.
“A number of alternatives were looked into, but we thought this was the proper way to conduct it,” McCarthy said. “It’s very compact. A limited number of people are involved and there will be no disruption to the local community. Everything will take place inside the house.”
To prepare for the virtual draft, the league’s top decision-makers have had their home offices and basements turned into personal war rooms.
“I have an office on the first floor (of my home),” Jets GM Joe Douglas said during a conference call Monday.
“It’s a makeshift office, but I think we’ve done a good job. I’ve got a nice desk. I’ve tried to create an environment that’s almost identical to the environment I have in my office in Florham Park and I’ve had a lot of help from a lot of people doing that.”
Goodell has warned the league to expect the unexpected during this year’s draft.
Although the teams have conducted mock drafts to test communications, the NFL has contingency plans in place in case of technical glitches.
“You can’t just hope things work out,” McCarthy said. “It’s required a tremendous amount of planning. It should be exciting.”