Two lessons for us from the NFL Draft – SCN Encourager 5/12/2014

And there may be plenty more to come.

But Seth Godin will need to give you those – assuming he’s even a football fan.

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 11.49.43 AMAs you probably guessed (or perhaps feared), I eagerly scooped up my TV remote last Thursday evening and turned on the NFL Draft.

Cindy was out-of-town for a work-related conference, so what choice did I have?

School communicators have to deal with changing calendars and circumstances all of the time, so this was just one more instance where I’d have to make the best of it.

Prior to the actual draft, I had heard on sports talk radio shows how football fans were getting sick and tired of the media build-up to the May 8 Draft.

People were weary of all the speculation (who’s going where), the likelihood that some of the typically awful teams would still screw up their draft picks anyway (but not our Lions, right?), and all of the hype and fawning over quarterback Johnny Manziel (football’s version of Justin Bieber).

Many radio hosts and their on-air callers both amplified and decried the major “PR” problem that NFL was experiencing. How could it ever respond to all of the “controversy?” How could it ever respond to so much public criticism? Blah-blah-blah.

Somehow everyone on the planet seemed to be in a frenzy that the 2014 NFL Draft Show on TV would be a disaster.

Apparently, once all of the NFL Draft critics reached critical mass, the world would end as we know it.  Oh, my.

Anyway, Thursday night’s NFL Draft Show went on as scheduled and the TV ratings on Friday were revealing.

The TV ratings for the 2014 NFL Draft came in at an all-time high.

Even though there were NHL and NBA play-off games on other TV channels at the same time, the NFL Draft’s ratings topped the ratings of both of these other two sports combined.

The lesson #1: The loud voice of the vocal critics is rarely correct, even if it seems to be gaining momentum. Go ahead and listen to it if you like. Just don’t let it knock you off course.

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 12.18.13 PMAs the three hour-plus NFL Draft continued, it was fascinating to hear the various story lines; largely based arising out of the outlandish personalities of particular players and team owners.

But don’t worry. Lesson #2 has nothing to do with dealing with different personalities. 

If it did, my superintendent would probably demand that he write this paragraph instead of me – and I’m not sure my fragile self-esteem could handle his observations on this subject. (Especially since my wife would be all too happy to give him some of her own “dealing with different personalities” coping skills to pass along to you. Ouch!)

No. Lesson #2 from Thursday Night’s NFL Draft is about the need to accept change.

You see, despite all of the many selections of players taking place on Thursday night, not one involved the selection of a running back.

There were fast, strong, and talented running backs available, of course, but none of their names were announced at the podium on Thursday night.

The players announced were mainly wide receivers, quarterbacks, offensive lineman to protect the quarterbacks, and defensive backs speedy-kwik enough to keep wide receivers from catching the ball.

The best running back, Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde, was the 57th choice, the latest spot in history that the first running back was ever taken in any NFL Draft.

The NFL is continuing its transformation into a “passing” league, moving ever farther away from its more traditional brand of a “running” league.

Talented running backs are not among the most coveted players anymore.

One expert stated, “The game has changed. New ways and new priorities are required now.”

That’s Lesson #2 in a nutshell:  New game = New priorities and New ways

As school leaders and communicators, we know full well that our “game” has also changed.

We just have to do our best to make sure our “new priorities and new ways” match up. (or is the right word align?)

I think it’s exciting that our working environment is very much like that found at NFL Draft night… that is, once you take away the bright lights of Radio City Music Hall, the glitz, the limos, the $3000 suits, and the multi-million dollar guaranteed contracts.

Tom Page, SCN           I’d love to have you join us on Facebook, too!
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