On Friday afternoon, a few hours before the start of the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theater here in Chicago, I joined the hordes headed to the outdoor fan festival, Draft Town. The energy was apparent in the throngs that walked into Grant Park representing nearly every one of the 32 teams. It was like a migration to football land.
And the whole setup was a football lover’s dream. The NFL’s sponsors had built tents showcasing their products, and just inside the entrance, there were stations where kids could play Madden 15.
Mannequins dressed in the jerseys of every NFL team lined the paths, with holes where the heads would have been so fans could stand behind them and have their photos taken. Draftees and famous players signed autographs, and tents showcasing memorabilia from every team lined the walk.
CHICAGO — With a lei draped around his neck and a smile on his face, Marcus Mariota sat in his chair, gathering his thoughts as the celebration unfolded around him.
The Titans had selected Mariota, the former Oregon quarterback, with the second pick in the first round of the NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theater here Thursday night.
Mariota, though, was thousands of miles away at his own watch party, in Honolulu.
Moments earlier, as expected, the Buccaneers had selected former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston with the first pick. He wasn’t in Chicago, either.
The NFL Draft kicks off Friday, and fans, analysts, and GMs alike are filling out mock draft boards and spreadsheets. But the real draft is so unpredictable that the chances of predicting correctly are extremely slim. But that won’t stop me from making picks!
Here is my outline of how I think 2015 NFL draft will play out:
When your team name is a color, it’s hard to get too creative with what players wear on the field. Which is why the Cleveland Browns have had, basically, the same jersey for decades: Orange helmet, brown home uniforms, white pants. But going into 2015, the Browns have tried to mix things up.
Yesterday, Cleveland unveiled a new set of jerseys — home, away, and a third — that the team will wear this season. The unis are an updated version of the NFL Nike Elite 51 that “respects the past and embraces the future by paying tribute to the city and the fans,” according to Nike. “The uniform incorporates a modern, 21st century Cleveland-centric design inspired by the Dawg Pound, a group that consists of some of the team’s most enthusiastic fans, and influenced by the evolution of the city itself.”
On April 2, Boston College Head Football Coach Steve Addazio visited my school, St. Joseph Elementary School, in Needham, MA. His inspiring talk was part of SJS’s Leadership Speaker Series for fifth graders.
Coach Addazio spoke about football, of course. But before he got to sports he shared some important lessons he has learned in his life.
First, Addazio shared his motto: “Good things happen to good people who work hard.” He asked the audience to say it three times so that no one would forget it.
He also remembered a homily he heard at a BC mass. He explained that it was about “going down and helping to pick somebody up.”
He used that message to challenge students to think about what they could give of themselves. He encouraged everyone to do simple acts of kindness to make someone’s day better, like giving a nice compliment or leading a helping hand.
In each issue of Sports Illustrated Kids, we feature three kids who excel in sports, does well in school, and gives back to the community. These young athletes do it all — on and off the field! Meet this month’s SportsKids of the Month!
Ethan Leach, 10
Pleasant Hill, CA
Last spring, Ethan hit for the cycle as a pitcher for the Pleasant Hill Baseball Association's Rangers team. He scored five runs, stole two bases, and retired the side twice in two innings pitched.
When the 32 NFL owners gather in Arizona for the NFL’s Annual Meeting beginning this Sunday, there will be many discussions on rule changes, league plans, and the state of each franchise.
But another issue that has recently become a hot topic of discussion is the league’s possible expansion to Europe. While many are against such an expansion, the NFL can benefit from having a team across the pond. Here are some of the most common cases against the idea — and one reporter’s opinion on why those arguments don’t hold up.