Chicago plays host to this year’s NFL Draft with official proceedings kicking off this evening. Chicago, one of our favorite cities, is an excellent choice to be the host city for the draft with its rich football history, bustling metropolis, architectural delights and central location.
In the same fashion that the Super Bowl rotates locations year to year, I imagine the NFL will begin rotating the location of the draft more frequently. New York City has hosted 57 football drafts, Philadelphia 14 and Chicago 9 (counting 2016). A handful of other cities have also played host. As the Draft continues to grow in popularity, the interest in hosting it is keen.
One city that has not held the NFL Draft is the city with the most NFL Championships: Green Bay, Wisconsin. Now, there have been some sound reasons for why Green Bay wasn’t given consideration to host an NFL Draft. Was there an appropriate venue? Were there enough hotel rooms?
Let’s come back to that.
The NFL Draft Belongs in Green Bay in 2019
First, let’s talk about the case for Green Bay. Green Bay is home to the most storied NFL franchise. Not only is Green Bay the best story in football, it’s arguably the best on-going story in all of sports. There’s no single ownership entity for the Packers like other NFL teams, the team is literally owned by the people — yes, 364,114 folks are Green Bay Packers shareholders.
Despite being the smallest city to field an NFL team, the team has excelled like no other franchise in football. The Packers own 13 NFL Championships – more than any other team. Hey, there’s a reason they call it “Titletown.” Heck, even the Super Bowl trophy is named after Green Bay Packers’ coach Vince Lombardi.
100 Year Celebration of the Green Bay Packers in 2019
The Packers were organized as a football team on August 11, 1919. The year 2019 will be the Packers 100 year celebration as a football team. It seems kind of fitting that the NFL would recognize this storied team and town with one of its crown jewel events: the NFL Draft.
With an open air stadium, it’s unlikely that the Packers will ever host a Super Bowl. But, an NFL Draft is very much a possibility.
New Titletown District
Now, back to the venue. Scheduled to be completed in 2017, the new TitleTown District will feature a Lodge Kohler, a proposed 4-Diamond hotel built and managed by Kohler Co. Kohler is the owner of the American Club, perhaps best known for its Whistling Straits golf course, which played host to 3 PGA Championships. Per Packers.com, “Central to Titletown will be a planned 10-acre public plaza, a park-like setting with year-round, diverse programming that will feature fitness-related activities, cultural opportunities, versatile space for a variety of uses, a winter ice skating rink and team-inspired public art, in addition to festive game day action.” The Titletown district, essentially a celebration to the game of football and the Packers, will make an ideal venue. Hotel rooms in the area will be tight, but if given the opportunity to improvise, a plan could be put in place to accommodate visitors.
The Packers fan base in Wisconsin is as strong and loyal as it gets. The NFL’s most storied franchise is very deserving of this opportunity. Rewarding the Green Bay Packers’ fans, the team and the city with an NFL Draft in 2019 makes all the sense in the world.