The NFL Draft has been held in Chicago for the past two years. According to Congressman Bob Brady, who represents Pennsylvania’s 1st congressional district, the event will be in Philadelphia next year. According to Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney, no, it won’t. It’s not currently clear who’s right, where the draft will be, and why a congressman would know while the city’s mayor would not.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged in April that Philadelphia was interested in hosting the 2017 draft, telling reporters:
“I know they’re interested in it,” Goodell said. “And we’re interested in Philadelphia, but among the other cities. We’ve got a lot of interest. We want to sit down after we’re done and see what the best decision is for the NFL.”
Philly.com reported that the city sealed the deal this evening. Brady said that Philadelphia and the NFL had been negotiating for three weeks, and he helped convince Kenney that it wouldn’t result in a financial strain. The pope’s September visit reportedly cost the city $8 million, and Kenney was apparently wary of spending too much:
“We’ve been dealing with this for the past couple of weeks, maybe three weeks, and [Kenney] just called me this afternoon and told me that we got the NFL, that the city is going to do it and he feels comfortable that the people who said they were going to help raise the money are going to do it.”
That definitely sounds like Philadelphia has been picked to host the draft, and that Brady helped make it happen. However, Kenney’s reps issued a denial:
Despite Brady’s exuberance, Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said in an email Thursday that the city had not inked a deal with the NFL.
“I can’t speak for the Congressman, but I can tell you that the City has definitely not been awarded the draft,” Hitt wrote.
When Philly.com asked Brady about Kenney’s denial, he steered straight ahead and detailed some of the city’s plans:
“They are going to do it out in the open on the Parkway for three days. It’s a three-day draft,” Brady said. “They are going to build a stage, and I’m sure they are going to put up some type of enclosure in case it rains. But that’s what the NFL wanted, they wanted to do it right on the Parkway, I think, I don’t know but I would imagine, with the Art Museum as the backdrop. They wanted to come here and do that so we just had to guarantee them money.”
There you have it. The 2017 NFL Draft will be in Philadelphia, unless it won’t.