Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Goodell May Shorten Draft Time Limits

In what we could only hope happens, NFL boss Roger Goodell is considering shorting time limits for making selections in the first two rounds of the draft.

The subject may be brought up when owners convene next Tuesday in Nashville for the league's annual spring meeting. The main focus of the one-day get together will be what city will host the Super Bowl in 2011.

This year's draft included the longest first round in history, at six hours and eight minutes. It also had the longest first day, with the first three rounds stretching 11 hours, four minutes.

The current time limits are 15 minutes for the first round, 10 minutes for the second, and five minutes for the final five rounds. The competition committee is expected to recommend time limits of 10 minutes for the first round, seven minutes for the second, and five minutes for the remaining rounds.

Because the draft falls under the auspices of the commissioner, a formal vote technically isn't necessary to enact changes in the lottery, but Goodell is not inclined to act alone on the matter. Instead, the owners could reduce the time limits by simply affirming a recommendation from the competition committee.

Part of the reason for the reduction is that Goodell and NFL owners would like to get at least the first round in prime time televison. The NFL Draft has grown by leaps and bounds and prime time equals prime dollars for the league.

I for one don't care about that. I love the draft, but 11-plus hours is way too long even for the most die hard draftniks. The owners, coaches, personnel men and scouts have had months and months to evaluate the players. Why should it take them 15 minutes to make a decision after all that preparation?

Here's hoping the Goodell and the owners have the good sense to shorten the time lag.

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