NOVAK: Finally, live sports!

It has been more than a month since any of us have live sports on television.

That will all change Thursday night when the National Football League holds its annual draft. Live sports television for three straight days — I can hardly wait.

But like everything else in our lives, the NFL Draft will be changed dramatically. Instead of being held in Las Vegas in front of more than 100,0000 fans, this year’s event will resemble a fantasy sports draft with league officials making their picks from their homes.

No matter the format, just having something live on television to watch will be great. It will be a break from the constant bombardment of bad news about the COVID-19 outbreak. It will be a chance for people to get together via Zoom or another social media platform to banter about their favorite football team.

It will be great to celebrate your team’s draft pick or scream at the television screen — or at your friends — about how pathetic that pick was and what were they thinking. I quite frankly have missed doing both things the past month or so.

The NFL Draft is one of the few things I watch over a couple of days. I only watch the first few picks of the National Basketball Association Draft, while not watching or paying attention to the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball drafts.

It is not that I dislike those sports, but their drafts seem to lack the magic that the NFL has captured.

One of my favorite parts of the draft is watching the reaction of the fans who gathered to take part in the event. Their facial expressions are priceless. I will miss that this year, unless the NFL and the networks covering the draft have figured out a way to crash draft Zoom parties and can get their reactions.

One of the other things is the reaction of the players as they find out who drafted them. Those special moments when a player receives that phone call from a team telling them that they are about to be selected. Those are real and raw emotional moments that even Hollywood directors cannot create.

I am not sure how they are going to accomplish this, but I also enjoy the backstories they give us. Some of them tear your heart out. Others give you hope that there is still a chance for humanity.

One of the other things I always enjoy is the bickering between the so-called experts about who gets drafted by whom, why or why not that was a bad idea, and who gets the better of a draft-day trade. I am hopeful there will still be plenty of drama in that department.

Buckle up boys and girls. It is time for the NFL Draft Thursday night. Do not pay so much attention to who gets drafted in that first round on Thursday. Teams are built on the rounds that follow the first couple. The teams that win year in and year out find the best players in the rounds beyond the top two.

There is always that diamond in the rough waiting for some team to find. Those gems are the ones that lead teams to a championship, or in the case of the New England Patriots, six championships. Who will be this year’s Tom Brady?

I cannot wait to find out.

Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at scott.novak@leaderpub.com.

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