Unless you have had your head buried in the sand for the last couple of weeks, I’m sure by now that you know that the 2019 NFL Draft took place in downtown Nashville on April 27-29.
More than 600,000 people packed Broadway over the course of three days for one of the NFL’s biggest events of the year. The size of the crowd far exceeded expectations, as primary numbers had predicted only 300,000 people to be in Nashville that weekend.
Being the huge football fan that I am, I made the trip to Nashville for the first two days of the draft, taking in all the sights and sounds as a media member. As I saw fans from all 32 teams represented, some supporters dressed up more than others, I can say definitively that Music City rolled out the red carpet for the draft and it was wonderful to see. Aside from the rain crashing the start of the first round, the weekend went off without a hitch.
What better way to get the three-day celebration started than with a homegrown concert? Nashville-based rockers Moon Taxi greeted football fans, taking the stage an hour before the big show got going, treating the audience to fun hour-long performance.
Some of the highlights included set included a fabulous rendition of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” followed by “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Both of those performances eerily mimicked Queen’s 1985 Live Aid performance.
One other interesting cover that Moon Taxi was “Old Town Road,” the new smash hit song by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus. Moon Taxi’s rendition included the rapping portion of the song, which made for a fun cover.
After that performance, it was time for the main event, as the NFL Draft officially got underway. As fans waited to see who would be selected by teams in the first round, I sat in the media tent, specifically the press conference room, watching on television.
According to the NFL press release, after a player had been selected, if he was in attendance, he was to make their way to the press conference room to address the media. That took some time, as number one overall draft pick Kyler Murray was selected by the Arizona Cardinals at roughly 7:30 p.m., but didn’t arrive into the media room until 8:45 p.m.
Despite things running behind schedule, that was the highlight of the draft for me was sitting in that room. You could tell that each player who walked up the podium was thankful and excited to be drafted into the league.
While it was great to listen to every draft pick, my two favorite players had to be former Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and Alabama running back Josh Jacobs. Wilkins was selected by the Miami Dolphins and Jacobs went to the Oakland Raiders.
It was their personalities that made them standout. Wilkins was having fun with his draft, including going up for a chest bump with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Unfortunately, Goodell wasn’t quite expecting the bump and nearly fell on stage.
Jacobs was all smiles as well, however, he impressed me with his maturity. Jacobs grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, living the majority of his life out of the back of the car as his father struggled financially. Because of that, it really taught Jacobs the value of a dollar.
Rather than spend money on cars, jewelry, etc., he made a promise to live within his means, not touching his game checks, and instead limiting his spending from the money he makes off of endorsements. To me, having that game plan spoke volumes about Jacobs’ maturity.
In my estimation, the NFL Draft lived up to the hype and it was great to see Nashville come out and support the event. With the impressive showing, it’s going to be interesting to see what other big events Nashville can pull in during the upcoming years.