In reviewing ESPN/ABC’s draft coverage, let me find my inner Chris Berman and quote the Rolling Stones.
“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, well, you might find you get what you need.”
You could nitpick the draft coverage — and, don’t worry, we will below — but the new goal for networks doing live events during a pandemic is pass/fail. Can they get on the air?
ESPN/ABC passed. That’s the biggest takeaway in this new normal. It was on the air.
Eight hours prior to when Joe Burrow was selected by the Bengals, the reality of trying to do normal things in these times once again hit, as Todd McShay, scheduled to be ABC’s draft expert Thursday night, announced he was dealing with COVID-19 and would be absent from the coverage. The show went on.
The production of the virtual draft was impacted by the pandemic, starkly shown by the opening shot of an empty Las Vegas, which was supposed to be the site of the selection show.
Instead, ESPN nicely dressed up its Bristol home but — beside the fact Bristol ain’t Vegas — the show with everyone at home lacked the flash and energy of a normal draft. It did, though, display the strongest part of ESPN/ABC.