By Dave Wischnowsky –
(CBS) With its brutal winter weather and a stadium that’s far too small, Chicago has no business hosting a Super Bowl.
But an NFL Draft?
Well, yes, the Windy City absolutely should host that. And come 2015, NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt believes that it indeed will.
“If I were an oddsmaker, I would say Chicago is where it’ll be next year,” Brandt told SiriusXM NFL Radio about the 2015 draft after the league sent letters last week to Chicago, New York and Los Angeles requesting information about their capabilities of hosting the coveted event.
The nation’s three biggest cities are expected to submit proposals later this month, with NFL officials planning to visit every draft site and make a decision at some point this summer. A league spokesman has stressed that more than 12 cities remain in the mix to host the 2015 draft, but that Chicago, New York and L.A. were the first to be sent formal letters.
Considering that, I’d say you can expect the host city to emerge from that trio. And when it does, it absolutely should be Chicago.
The reason why the 2015 draft is up for grabs is because New York City’s Radio City Music Hall, which has hosted the event since 2006, informed the NFL that it won’t be available next April or May. However, as the home to the draft for every year since 1965, New York doesn’t want to simply give up the draft and is investigating alternate sites.
But after 50 years of hearing the names of college stars called in the same town, the draft could use a change of scenery. And, really, the NFL should look to spread the event’s wealth, much like it does with its other marquee event, the Super Bowl, which changes cities every year.
In February, after the first cold-weather outdoor Super Bowl was held at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel expressed an interest in holding the NFL’s big game at Soldier Field. Since then he’s gone as far as to look into a 5,000-seat expansion of the stadium in the hopes of making it more worthy.
For a variety of reasons, however – wicked lakefront winds and potential blizzards chief among them – Chicago simply isn’t worthy of a Super Bowl. But as rabid of an NFL city as there is, it very much is worthy of greater appreciation and attention from the league. And a chance to host the 2015 NFL Draft would be a fitting consolation prize that’s also a perfect fit.
That’s the opposite of Los Angeles, which hasn’t even had an NFL team in town for nearly 20 years and hasn’t really seemed to miss it. With no clear local fan base, it’s unclear exactly how much Los Angelenos would truly embrace the draft.
And while I understand that L.A. does glitz and glam with the best of them and loves to host big events, the 2015 NFL Draft belongs in a city that actually loves NFL football. At the same time, it belongs in a new city that’s not New York, which has already had its draft fun, and then some.
Namely, it belongs in Chicago.
And here’s to hoping that’s the name that the NFL commissioner calls this summer.