The event will still be televised, but participating parties, from commissioner Roger Goodell on down, will be taking part from separate remote locations.
It’s going to take some getting used to but, thankfully, there is at least one tradition that remains alive and well, even in these unprecedented times — draft day hats!
Earlier this week, New Era released the official event caps for 29 of the league’s 32 teams (those of the Las Vegas Raiders, Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming later this month).
(Note: The rankings have been updated with the April 7 release of the Buccaneers’ cap.)
The NFL draft is still set for April 23-25, but the coronavirus outbreak is forcing the league to adopt a different approach to announcing picks.
Of course, no one will get to see our favorite teams’ future stars wearing them while posing for photos with Goodell. But at least fans can wear them with pride as they watch every minute of the three-day draft (you all do that too, right?).
Speaking of traditions, no pandemic is going to stop us from ranking each of those draft day hats, from snazziest to most hideous. This year, every team’s cap is black with a large logo (“in bold, accentuated colors,” according to a New Era news release) in front and a team slogan on the side.
The result was a number of very sharp hats, along with some that are solid if not all that exciting ... and only a few disasters.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles bounce back spectacularly after landing at No. 29 in last year’s ranking. And they do so with a design that manages to be both bold and understated. The same can be said about all of the caps in the top five.
2. Carolina Panthers
(Speaking of bouncing back spectacularly, the Panthers rebound after finishing dead last a year ago.)
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. Denver Broncos
5. Houston Texans
The next group features teams with logos that stand out and look great against the black background. And, believe it or not, this includes the Rams and their sometimes-criticized new logo.
6. Miami Dolphins
7. Tennessee Titans
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9. Los Angeles Rams
10. Minnesota Vikings
For some teams, the simple approach works best, including the organization with last year’s top-ranked hat, the Arizona Cardinals.
11. Arizona Cardinals
12. Kansas City Chiefs
13. Los Angeles Chargers
14. San Francisco 49ers
Other teams might have gone a bit overboard but still came away with nice-looking hats.
15. Jacksonville Jaguars
16. Baltimore Ravens
Nothing wrong with this next group. Nothing terribly exciting about it either.
17. Buffalo Bills
18. New England Patriots
19. Detroit Lions
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Not much to be said about the next group. Just a bunch of hats with logos — chances are fans of these teams already have similar caps (albeit without the slogans on the side).
22. Green Bay Packers
23. New York Jets
24. Dallas Cowboys
25. Indianapolis Colts
26. New Orleans Saints
27. New York Giants
And now for the disasters ...
28. Washington Redskins
This could have worked but the burgundy parts of the logo blend too much into the black background.
29. Chicago Bears
Can see what they were going for, but yikes!
30. Cleveland Browns
The Browns have no logo so they went with one that was retired 50 years ago. But that’s not the issue. That logo came out as an unrecognizable mess, much like the Bears’. And the Browns were docked for lack of effort with the slogan, which is simply the team name.