The Case for the Packers Hosting the NFL Draft
The NFL Draft has become one of the biggest events that revolves around football. Could one of the league’s most storied teams play host?
For 50 straight years, from 1965 to 2014, the NFL draft was held in New York City. The country’s biggest city just made sense as the go-to destination for the offseason’s biggest event.
But that tradition has started to change. Chicago hosted the draft from 2015-2016, while the draft returns to Philadelphia for the first time since 1961 later this month. The Packers did apply to host the draft in 2019, 2020, or 2021. While some have said Green Bay is not likely to earn the honor, a case can be made that Titletown would be an excellent draft location.
The Packers are one of the oldest teams in football. In fact, they’re the longest operating team that has retained the same name and location. Oh, and the team’s 13 world championships lead the entire NFL as well. The Packers organization started in 1919 and have applied to host the draft in 2019. Giving one of the league’s most historic teams the chance to host the draft in their centennial year would be an excellent move by the NFL.
Lambeau Field itself also represents an important part of football lore. The NFL’s smallest market boasts a breathtaking stadium, and visiting Green Bay should be on the bucket list of any football fan. Who wouldn’t want to experience the city basically shutting down whenever a Packers-related event is going on? That level of fandom goes unmatched in the NFL.
While Lambeau already has a wide appeal, the team has been working on plans to make the area even more attractive. The Packers announced plans for the Titletown District in 2015, a 34-acre park featuring lodging, food, and much more. The organization could be complete as soon as this fall, making an event like the NFL draft a prime opportunity to show off the role an NFL team plays in its surrounding community.
The biggest argument against the Packers hosting a league-wide event remains space. There are obviously fewer hotels than cities like Chicago and New York have. But nearby towns and cities have lodging that could accommodate the extra guests. Football fans have passion for the sport; they’d find a way to get to the area.
Admittedly, not as many “casual” fans would attend a draft in Green Bay as one in a larger city. But the Packers boast one of the richest stories in NFL history. Yeah, hosting the Super Bowl would be too much for a city with a population of just over 100,000. But the NFL Draft would provide a perfect opportunity for one of the country’s best football towns to show fans from all over what it’s about.