Cowboys To Convert AT&T Stadium For '18 NFL Draft; First Time Event Held At NFL Stadium
The Cowboys will host the '18 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium, marking the "first time in league history that the draft will be staged at an NFL stadium," according to a front-page piece by David Moore of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The Cowboys "intend to convert AT&T Stadium into an indoor/outdoor venue for the event that will flow into the plazas and parking lots and take on the feel of a spring festival." Cowboys Exec VP & Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones Anderson said, "We have come up with an incredible idea and concept that will make AT&T Stadium shine, but also will deliver a unique experience that is unlike anything you have seen thus far at the NFL draft." Moore notes last year's draft in Philadelphia "drew universal praise." Philadelphia was "regarded as a finalist to host the draft again this year." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "thanked Chicago and Philadelphia for breathing new life and excitement into the event" the past three years. Moore notes the Cowboys' preference was to "host the first two days of the draft in Arlington then move the third day" to The Star in Frisco. The fallback option was to "host all three days at AT&T Stadium." It became "clear in the NFL's final site visit" that the league was "focused solely on AT&T Stadium" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/19). YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote the Cowboys were "always the favorite," but they "wanted to hold it" at The Star. It is a "nice place, home to a 12,500-seat indoor stadium." But Philadelphia last year drew "250,00 over three days" and the "environment was electric." The Star in Frisco was "no longer going to cut it" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/18).
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY: NFL Exec VP/Communications Joe Lockhart said that the league's plan is to "rotate the draft's venue each year because up to 20 teams expressed interest in hosting it." Lockhart said there was a "strong bid from Philadelphia" to host in '18 because Chicago hosted consecutive years in '15-16. Lockhart: "Philadelphia's strong push was based on Chicago's second year being better than the first year. But we were heavily influenced by the fact that so many of the clubs want to do it. Moving it one year at a time makes more sense for now" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/19). Meanwhile, in L.A., Sam Farmer notes the crowd in Philadelphia last year "vigorously booed Goodell." But the reaction could be "more vehement in Texas, in light of Goodell's on-again, off-again suspension" of Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (L.A. TIMES, 10/19).