- For the first time since 1964, the NFL Draft will not take place in New York City
- The Buccaneers will take part in a draft outside of New York for the first time
- The three-day draft will take place from April 30-May 2 and will include an outdoor fan experience
The National Football League Player Selection Meeting – also known as the (massively entertaining) NFL Draft – has come a long way since the Philadelphia Eagles called the name of halfback Jay Berwanger in the Philadelphia Ritz-Carlton in 1936. Now it's on the move again.
The NFL announced on Thursday that the 2015 draft will be held in Chicago at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. This marks the first time the draft will take place in a location other than New York City since 1964.
It's a fitting destination for the draft proceedings, which are now the offseason equivalent of the Super Bowl in terms of fan interest and media coverage. Before it was moved to New York's Summit Hill in 1965, it had taken place the previous three years in Chicago's Sheraton Hotel. The draft was also held in Chicago in 1938 (at the Hotel Sherman), 1942-44 (Palmer House) and 1951 (Blackstone Hotel). From 1936-64, the location of the draft moved around frequently, landing not only in Philly, Chicago and New York but also Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
"We are excited to have fans from throughout the midwest experience the NFL Draft," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a Thursday evening release. "We look forward to returning the event to the city of Chicago and working with the city, Choose Chicago, and the Chicago Sports Commission to create a week-long celebration of football for our fans. Mayor Emanuel and the city of Chicago presented us with numerous ways to enhance the Draft experience for our fans and incoming players."
The 2015 draft will retain the three-day structure of the last five years, with the first round taking place on the evening of Thursday, April 30. The second and third rounds will be held on the evening of Friday, May 1 and the final four rounds will take place on Saturday, May 2.
The NFL Draft has been held in New York City for the last 50 years but previously moved around quite a bit
This is the first draft the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take part in that is not headquartered in New York City. Last year, the Buccaneers used the seventh overall pick to select Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans. Tampa Bay's first appearance in the draft came during their inaugural 1976 season, when they used the first overall pick to select eventual Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon.
Many of the recently-added draft traditions will be retained in the move to Chicago. For instance, the players who accept invitations to be at the draft in person will still walk the red carpet, only this time it will be on Michigan Avenue, Chicago's famed "Gold Coast." Once again, 32 NFL Legends – former players representing each club – will take the stage to announce the picks in the second round. One new addition to the festivities: The draft experience will expand to include Grant Park and Congress Plaza outside the Auditorium Theatre. Those activities will include a free, three-day outdoor fan festival that includes interactive exhibits and autograph sessions.