The NFL Draft was held in Philly this week. The region has been buzzing with excitement, and the “powers that be” in sports 1 have been effusive in their praise for the event. As a native Philadelphian I am often annoyed by the way our city is portrayed in the common narratives of much national media, so this has been a long overdue recognition. Hopefully the lazy cheap shots from talking heads won’t be as prevalent in the scripts moving forward 2.
Volunteering to head into large crowds isn’t really something I enjoy, so I’d not planned to make my way down to Philly during the draft. Last week, however, one of my neighbors texted me about heading down. I figured, “What the heck?” So today I piled in to my neighbor’s car with my son and off we went to catch a train.
I’m glad I went.
The whole area around the Benjamin Franklin Parkway was set up as “Draft Town.” Games, activities, and food abounded throughout an area the size of 35 football fields. Everything was amazing, and the people were incredible. Eagles fans were everywhere, and there was good natured jawing with fans from other cities. People grinned as they gnawed on each other’s fandoms, and the boos and chants in the draft stadium were just part of the fun. As with an actual football game, what aired on TV 3 captured the event’s essence perfectly. Only with the Draft, it’s actually more fun to be there. Friday night an estimated 100,000 people were present for the first round.
Bring it back next year, NFL, and we’ll shatter that number.