That felt strange to write, so it must have been strange to read, but it's true. For the first time, we'll witness a draft conducted remotely. Everything right now is different, unprecedented and more often than not, difficult to navigate.
The NFL is continuing forward, though, because it can do so with some technological adjustments. And if you ask NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, it's taking place because it might just mean more to the world right now than in past years.
"I think all drafts are really about hope, in this sense: This is a hope for teams, they get a new player that is going to change the fortunes of their team and that relates to obviously the team's hope and the fans hope, and so the draft has always been about hope," Goodell explained during an appearance on Good Morning America. "But this year with all that's going on in our society and around the globe, we need more experiences together. We need that ability to look forward and maybe have a distraction or diversion from all that we're going through over the last couple of months, and this is a way to bring people together virtually.
"We'll have over 200 remotes around the country. It will be a way to socialize and bring people together, and that's what the NFL does. I think we'll be able to bring a great deal of optimism, not just to our fans but to the fact that business is continuing to go forward and operations are going forward. This is a really important event to our clubs and helping finalize our rosters and get ready for a season. So this is really important for us to do it right, and doing it from home and doing it within regulations with no exemptions."
Goodell will conduct the draft from his Westchester County, New York, basement which has been temporarily converted for this exact purpose.
"We've turned this into a mini studio," Goodell explained to ABC's Robin Roberts. "There will be three people in here with me, and it worked pretty well last night. We were testing some of the technology, so I think we're ready to go."
The draft will provide America and beyond with a healthy distraction and something to discuss other than the ongoing pandemic, which continues to grip the world. After the weekend, the road ahead remains uncertain as we venture further into uncharted territory. The plan, though, is to continue along a normal path with plans to play football in the fall with the hope the world can slowly return to some sense of normalcy in time for kickoff weekend.
"All our work is to continue to plan for the season and be ready for the season. The draft is a great example of that," Goodell said. "We're moving forward to do that. We modified our offseason to allow virtual workouts and offseason training, so all of that is going to try to make us ready for the season.
"One thing I've learned about what we're going through as a country is you can't tell a week from now, much less three months from now. So our job is to be ready. We obviously will be ready to make alternatives, we're going to put public safety No. 1, as we always do. And make sure that our fans, our players, all the participants, coaches, everyone are able to be in a safe environment and make sure that we do it in a way that all of us will be proud of."