DON’T GET ME STARTED remembers the better days of drafting players into the NFL after the NFL made a decision to move the NFL draft from its late April meeting to the middle of May.

First of all, I don’t know how the owners let the NFL get away with this move.  How can owners tell their coaches that they will have three weeks less to get a roster together?  Draftees and rookie signings won’t be able to really strut their stuff during the first week-10 days of May when only the rookies show up at the first sessions.  Now they have to wait, probably, to the end of May.

Loss of three weeks hurts the coach’s efforts.  Oh, Goodell and the NFL say that Radio City Music Hall was booked.  Garbage.  Many point out the other great places in the Big Apple could host the draft.  Why not rotate it like they do the Super Bowl.

But I happen to agree with the skeptics.  They note that the reason was to take advantage of the May television ratings.  ESPN will probably get a big, big boost in the ratings during that May sweep.  And the other network that will cover the draft will also realize a ratings bonanza.  That’s the NFL network – owned by the NFL. Anyone for conflict of interest here?

Let’s not forget the agents.  They will have a longer time to get contracts for their draft choices.

There are not too many who remember how the NFL entry draft became a big deal.  You have to go to the very early 60s.  Up until that time, the NFL had its draft in February – shortly after the NFL championship game.  Today, aren’t the ratings also going on in that month?  If so, why not move the draft back to its original days in February.

Then came that upstart American Football League.  When the New York Titans plucked Joe Namath off the Alabama team, credibility was achieved by the new league in those formidable early 60s.  Other players followed Namath.  Each league, the AFL and the NFL were vying for the same players, creating a bidding wall – to the benefit of the players.

That’s when the NFL made it more difficult for players to keep the heat on the leagues for better contracts.  The NFL moved the draft up two months.  That meant that those players who wanted to play in the NFL would have to make a decision; they could sign with the AFL team drafting them or wait until late April to see what happens at that draft.  They didn’t even know if they would be drafted by the NFL. Naturally, that really started the battle between the leagues.

In the end, the AFL brought the NFL to its knee caps, forcing a meeting that resulted in both leagues merging into one huge league – the National Football League with two conferences – the National and American.

So forget it fans.  The NFL’s latest move shows a disdain for the fan who was satisfied with the late April date.  Now it’s well into the middle of May.  If fans had not realized that television rules the NFL – maybe they will now rethink the opinion.  But, frankly, I wonder why the other networks – CBS and FOX aren’t putting up a bigger fight since they will be abdicating a huge audience to ESPN and NFL networks during the draft in the week before the actual draft and the week after.  That means at least three weeks of the draft will be, probably, controlled by ESPN and NFL networks.

I wonder whether advertisers will buy this latest gimmick by the NFL.

Many are hoping for warm weather in the middle of May so they can go golfing; swimming; traveling around town, not tuning in knowing that they can pick up the papers next morning to find out what happened.

And that’s what has me constantly wondering why they can’t leave well enough alone on Don’t Get Me Started.

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