Draft's immediate future still unclear
ATLANTA -- As the spring meeting concluded Tuesday, the immediate future of the draft remained unclear in terms of location, date and number of days.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said he would wait until the end of the month to hear from officials at Radio City Music Hall for the availability in New York. Also, a committee was formed Tuesday to investigate date and location possibilities for 2015. The group will report its findings at the fall meeting, Oct. 7-8 in Detroit.
There were some concerns about the draft being pushed back from April to May, considering this year's draft was so close to Mother's Day. Goodell said he understands such concerns but would not specify a targeted date for '15.
"We're looking at everything,'' Goodell said. "We think that the draft has a great deal more potential to grow in popularity. We don't believe [the date] affected us in a negative way at all this year.
"Date and location are probably the two primary issues for us to decide. Radio City is going to let us know by the end of the month the flexibility they have in their date. That will obviously be a big help. And we're obviously continuing our discussions with other cities.''
Goodell said he has not discussed the draft location with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Woody Johnson said he understands why the NFL might want to move the draft to another city, but the Jets' owner carries a biased opinion when it comes to discussing such a radical change.
"There's a great appeal, of course,'' Johnson said of keeping the draft in New York. "But there are  other teams. ...
"I love New York. And there's a reason it's been there 50 years. I think it makes it a lot easier for a lot of the journalists, who are in New York. A lot of networks are in New York. It's pretty convenient. And it's New York. It's the 'Big Apple.' For the European reporters coming over, it's a lot easier for them, too.''
All that being said, Johnson wouldn't be surprised to see the draft in a variety of cities in years to come.
"You see the other side,'' Johnson said. "The commissioner wants to explore other opportunities, and I don't blame him. I think that's a good strategy.''
The enthusiasm and emotions Jets fans express annually with their picks while attending the draft only fuels Johnson's case for keeping it in New York. Then again, Johnson realizes those feelings can be captured in other NFL cities as well.
"All the members would agree it's a big country, and we should always look at different opportunities,'' Johnson said. "Maybe some of our fans would like it somewhere else. I don't know if fans care where it is because it's all broadcasted.
"It's not the end of the world if it moves. New York is the center of the universe, as far as I'm concerned. If it's in Chicago, that's not too bad. If it's in L.A., Dallas or wherever, that's fine, too.''
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie would like to see the draft in Philadelphia.
"Philly would be a great place for the draft,'' Lurie said. "It would be a great place for a Super Bowl.
"The draft, I think it's up in the air. I, for one, would like to not see it on Mother's Day. Other than that, within that couple-week period, it will play out great. I don't have any strong opinion on which week, but my own preference is for three days, as is.''
Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy made a case for the draft being in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
"Obviously it's done well and had a good home in New York, but there's a lot of interest in it,'' Murphy said. "I know our mayor [Jim Schmitt] would like to see it in Green Bay. Everybody's in line with it.
"I don't know what the requirements or the specifications are and whether Green Bay could meet those. But, yeah, I could see that being something that could really be great for our community.''