ESPN and the NFL Network won't show players taking phone calls in the green room in an attempt to keep suspense for the announcement of picks at next week's NFL draft.
Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch was the bearer of that good news on Wednesday afternoon.
In the past few years, the tension of Roger Goodell's reading of picks has been tempered by the fact that cameras have shown a player talking happily on the phone in the second before the pick, a clear sign that his name was about to by announced. We wrote about this problem after last year's draft, when it seemed like every pick was tipped. It killed excitement at a drawn-out event where the main thrill comes from the moments of uncertainty before Goodell takes the podium.
To combat this, both networks said they wouldn't air green room clips of players on the phone.
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It's a welcome fix that should go a long way to keeping the suspense, but doesn't fully solve the issue of tipping picks. Chris Berman is still free to excitedly tell viewers what he just heard in his earpiece and the plethora of NFL analysts at the event will still fight to be first with news of who is going with the fifth pick. At the very least, the joint move shows that producers are aware that the problem existed.
ESPN and NFLN need to treat the draft as the television show it is, not the news story they want it to be. When an NFL Network reporter is first to break the news of an impending pick, who does that serve: viewers at home or egos on set?
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