In the age of social distancing, Americans have grown creative in how they keep in touch with one another. Team-networking applications such as Zoom let us work and learn remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, and Google Hangouts and Skype are allowing us to keep in touch with family members and schedule virtual happy hours with friends. Pretty much everything we need can be accomplished on the internet — temporarily, at least.
And now, because it has come to this, the Miami Dolphins' upcoming draft party will be held online. You'll have to cheer or boo the picks from home, all in the name of saving the world, you hero, you.
The Dolphins today announced in a press release that because of concerns about COVID-19, they'll host a virtual 2020 NFL Draft party April 23 in the Official Miami Dolphins Fans Group on Facebook. By joining the group, members will gain access to exclusive draft content, including interviews with draft picks, Q&As with current players, and live video analysis.
According to the team, this is part of a continued nationwide attempt to practice social distancing. But at the same time, the Dolphins hope fans can gather virtually to celebrate the team's newest stars.
"While we remain vigilant of the ongoing situation that continues to impact so many, we hope the Facebook virtual draft party will bring fans together to celebrate our new players and interact with the team from their own homes," the Miami Dolphins' vice president of marketing, Laura Sandall, said in the press release. "We look forward to welcoming the draft picks to South Florida and introducing them to the community when it is safe to do so."
The scheduling of an online draft party might not seem like the biggest announcement you've ever heard, but even for Dolphins fans who don't plan to log in, it's great news. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell plans to move ahead with the draft during the days it was planned — April 23 through 25 — even as teams have lost crucial in-person evaluation time.
Dolphins fans certainly have much to look forward to over the three days of the draft. The team has a league-high 14 draft picks, including three first-round picks, the first of which is expected to be the Fins' quarterback of the future. It's highly unlikely the team will select 14 new players, so some wheelin'-and-dealin' is expected as the team attempts to either move up for a player it deems valuable or move back to acquire other picks, possibly for next year.
Whatever happens in the NFL Draft, for most of us, it won't be all that different. We'll still see it on television and talk about it online. What we see will be vastly different, however, as the stars of the show, too, remain in their homes across the nation.