This year, the Browns drafted Myles Garrett with the first overall pick in this year’s NFL draft and had five picks in the top-100. Now, Cleveland could find themselves hosting the event in coming years.
Cleveland Browns and Pro Football Hall of Fame Announce NFL Draft Bid
From 1965-2014, Radio City Music Hall in New York City had been the sole host of the draft. For the past three years, though, both Chicago and Philadelphia have hosted drafts, opening the door for other larger-market cities to host.
An excerpt from the statement released by the Hall of Fame Thursday:
“If selected by the NFL, Cleveland and Canton would welcome the three-day NFL Draft to Northeast Ohio and celebrate the league’s 100th season in 2019 or centennial in 2020 after its establishment in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 20, 1920.”
Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam also released a statement saying that “Cleveland and Canton are the ideal sites for the NFL Draft due to our region’s unmatched passion and respect for football, as well as our commitment to its future and the next generation of Hall of Fame players.”
Cleveland has had a resurgence in recent years, from the Cleveland Cavaliers title in 2016, to the Cleveland Indians World Series run last season. Just last year, the city hosted the Republican National Convention. So, holding at least a portion of the draft at First Energy Stadium would just be a cherry on top of the city’s run of successes.
Bringing part of the draft to Cleveland would be not only a great money maker for the league, but also for the city. The last time the city hosted a draft was back in 1949, when Cleveland was still a member of the All-American Football Conference. With the Cavaliers likely losing out on the opportunity to host the NBA All-Star game in 2020 or 2021, this would be a welcome replacement. Considering the draft is also (jokingly) known as “Cleveland’s Super Bowl” in Northeast Ohio, it would be a pretty big deal for the city.
Hall of Fame Logistics
A factor that undoubtedly plays into the Hall of Fame’s favor, is that it has experience hosting large events. Unlike the games played on the stadium’s actual field, the induction ceremony has rarely, if ever, seen any issues. The Hall and the surrounding area have undergone some much-needed renovation, and by doing so, have put themselves in prime position to bring a wider array of events to Canton.
The “die-hard-ness” of Browns fans does not need to be explained, but what few outside of Ohio may know is how big of a deal the Hall of Fame weekend is to Canton.
The city practically shuts down for the Hall of Fame game and the induction ceremony, as it becomes the center of the football world. No, it’s certainly not a New York, a Chicago, or a Philadelphia, but there would be no problem in packing Tom Benson Stadium for any portion of the draft.
Come 2019 or 2020, the Browns should (hopefully) be a .500+ team, if this rebuild goes as planned. As exciting as it was for the city getting the see the team draft number one overall, that certainly is not the goal two-three years down the line. With the picks that the team has stockpiled and will continue to stockpile, though, who knows, maybe the number one pick will fall in their lap.
There has been no announcement about which city would host which portions of the draft if accepted. However, the only competing proposal as of now is the Green Bay Packers, who are vying for the 2019, 2020 and 2021 drafts.
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