No one is forcing the NFL to hold the draft this week. No one has pressured them to go full speed ahead in what will likely prove to be a failing flight toward normalcy. This is a choice they made as a league. To put their hand in the dirt and try to out-tough a global pandemic. There should be no retroactive finger-pointing unless it's in the mirror.
They are running a mock draft call this afternoon and there have been hiccups, as predicted. A $15 billion industry is hanging by a thread, held in place by an IT guy and crossed fingers. Everyone at the league and its broadcast partners are hoping against hope that there are minimal snags when it matters most. Most people stuck at home -- for right or wrong -- can be forgiven for wanting to see the wheels come off a bit, like the Dallas Cowboys whenever the moment gets too big.
If that happens -- and there's a real chance it does -- the best thing for the NFL to do is take it in stride and in good humor. But that is so far from the general ethos of sports' most popular entity that it's tough to imagine. So we're left in a battle between an immovable object and an unstoppable force.
It's not a spoiler to tell you things, both small and big, will go wrong on Thursday night. There's simply no way they don't. But it's also worth pointing out that the prescriptions will be readily apparent. It's just that patience in the form of calling a timeout to re-establish connection is not compelling television, nor does it project unimpeachable professionalism.
Which, to the outsider, seems quite important to the NFL.
There was a way to sidestep all this pressure. It's not second-guessing to say holding a draft during historic death and despair is tone-deaf because so many people first-guessed it. Waiting until the dust settles would have made things harder but was definitely an option. Now we're looking at the chance they poorly execute a poor idea.
That'd be a real shame, especially because none of it had to happen.