Why Philly for the draft? NFL exec talks about the city and the future

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Peter O’Reilly is the NFL’s senior vice president of events, overseeing the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, NFL Draft, NFL Kickoff, and other productions. He spoke to The Inquirer about the draft and about the free NFL Draft Experience for fans, to be held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. His remarks have been edited for space and clarity.


Q: Why has the NFL Draft become such a phenomenon?

A: People wait for this oasis in the off-season. Everybody’s got hope this time of year. Everyone is undefeated. Everyone has seen the power of the draft to change teams’ fortunes. For us, in shifting over the last two years in Chicago and Philadelphia, it’s how do you take that interest, and that energy, and that meaningfulness, and create a celebration of the game that more fans can access?


Q: Why  Philadelphia?





A: There was and is a lot of interest from markets around the country. Philadelphia had a lot going for it, and demonstrated a real vision. We were looking for an iconic location for a fan experience, and for the young men who are coming to Philadelphia to have a life-changing experience. We stood on those Rocky steps and thought about that moment. We had great partners in the city and the Eagles and the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Q: Will Philadelphia also host next year’s draft, since Chicago hosted twice in a row?

A: Not necessarily. It’s a possibility. We’re waiting until after this draft to make any decisions.

Q: Why stage the draft at the Art Museum steps, as opposed to, say, Independence Hall or another site?




A: The steps themselves have that stature. Even these younger athletes who are entering the league have seen those Rocky steps. There is an allure there. Other landmarks of Philadelphia, you’ll see those in the broadcasts.

Q: What do you expect in Philadelphia? We are after all the city that booed Donovan McNabb when he was drafted.

A: I expect a lot of passionate green along the parkway. Nothing less. There’s nothing quite like Eagles fans, and their passion will be on full display.

Q: What if it rains?




A: It’s a rain or shine event. It’s football.






















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1 Philadelphia

Philadelphia News & Search

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