When a player is selected in the NFL Draft, they head on up to the stage and give commissioner Roger Goodell a big ol' hug. That's just what happens. Yet it wasn't always like this. There was a time not so long ago when warm embraces were an untapped resource. The gritty origin story of the Goodell hug was an untold story until Kyle Brandt dropped an extensive report on the phenomenon this morning, just in time for people to wrap their arms around before the next crop of stars get their formal introduction.
Goodell's first few years overseeing the event were marked by firm handshakes and respectful eye contact. But in 2010 everything changed when Gerald McCoy went third overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And then the floodgates opened.
One by one the members of the 2010 class picked up on McCoy's lead and went in for the real thing. It's so ubiquitous now that every single player except Kyle Pitts hugged Goodell last season. Most reputable sportsbooks have the over-under around 95 percent for this year's edition.
Some really go for it. Fletcher Cox held contact for almost 10 seconds. Keanu Neal fought through multiple courtesy taps for almost 15 seconds. Dudes have started to pick Goodell up off the floor like they are auditioning for a Gap swing-dancing commercial. Complicated choreography has become more commonplace. Props have been incorporated. The mother of innovation is going viral.
The hugs are only going to get longer and stronger and more involved. Hope Roger has been in the gym. At least he has a very comfortable chair to rest up when it's all over.