BOSTON (CBS) — When the NFL Draft is held later this month, teams around the league will join most of the workforce and do their work from home. In a memo to all 32 teams on Monday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that this year’s draft will be “fully virtual” so the league can adhere to safe distancing practices as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic.
NFL offices have been closed since March 13, with all teams closing their facilities on March 26. They will remain closed indefinitely, until it is safe to reopen based on medical and public health advice and in compliance with government mandates, Goodell said in his statement.
That means teams will be doing their usual work during the three-day draft from the comfort of their own homes. It also unfortunately means no fans will be able to boo Goodell in Las Vegas, where the draft was supposed to be held this year.
“… Clubs have been advised to prepare to conduct the 2020 Draft entirely outside of their facilities and in a fully virtual format, with club personnel in separate locations and able to communicate with one another and Draft headquarters by phone or internet,” Goodell’s statement read. “We have reviewed this matter in the past few days with both the Competition Committee and CEC, and this will confirm that Clubs will conduct their Draft operations remotely, with club personnel separately located in their homes.”
“Our understanding is that many clubs are already well advanced in preparing for a virtual Draft and we are confident that all clubs can take the necessary steps to make the 2020 Draft a successful event,” Goodell wrote.
For the Patriots, that means Bill Belichick is going to have to figure out how to use Zoom (which he’ll likely refer to as “Zoot” or “Boom” in a post-draft conference call). New England will be busy when April 23 rolls around, with a total of 12 picks over the three-day event. Add in Belichick’s tendency to trade up, down and all around the draft, and the Pats better hope all their staff members have a good internet connection.