NFL Draft Returns to Philadelphia for First Time in Over 50 Years
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - It’s official, the 2017 NFL Draft will be in Philadelphia, the first time the annual event will be held in the City of Brotherly Love since 1961 when the Warwick Hotel hosted it.
Representatives of the NFL, the city, and the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau confirmed that the 82nd version of the draft would be returning at a City Hall press conference Thursday.
The event itself will take place April 27-29 of next year along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and will incorporate famed landmarks spanning from City Hall to the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, according to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.
“Philadelphia is a passionate football town and will serve as a tremendous backdrop for the Draft and provide a great atmosphere for our fans and incoming players,” said Goodell. “ “(Eagles owner) Jeffrey Lurie has been a strong advocate and supporter of the draft on behalf of the City of Philadelphia throughout the entire selection process.”
The Draft, which was held in Chicago the previous two years after moving out of RadioCity Music Hall in New York, will once again be set in primetime for Rounds 1-3. Round 1 will take place on Thursday, April 27 while Rounds 2-3 will be held on Friday, April 28. The Draft will conclude on Saturday, April 29 with Rounds 4-7.
Fans of all teams can follow the Draft, enjoy interactive exhibits and autograph sessions with current and former players, and take pictures with the Vince Lombardi Trophy at Draft Town, a free outdoor fan festival.
“On behalf of the City and our legion of Philadelphia Eagles fans, we’re proud to be chosen as host city for the 2017 NFL Draft,” said Kenney. “We are excited to showcase Philadelphia and our passion for football, and fully expect an awesome experience for all those attending in 2017 and for those watching at home. I’m thankful for the incredible team at the NFL and the Philadelphia CVB for making this happen.”
The first ever NFL Draft was held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia in 1936. Philadelphia also hosted the event in 1949-50, 1953-54, 1956 (Rounds 1-3) and 1957-61 at either the Warwick or Bellevue-Stratford Hotels.
“The NFL Draft will be awesome for our city and a real gift for the fans of Philadelphia,” said former Eagles quarterback and Co-Chair of the Philadelphia NFL Draft Host Committee Ron Jaworski. “The NFL will put on an incredible show.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen