John Mara: Changes to draft date could be 'for the long haul'

A helmet with the NFL football draft logo

A helmet with the NFL football draft logo is placed on a table before the first round at Radio City Music Hall. (April 25, 2013) (Credit: AP)

NFL owners will not be voting on any changes to the league’s calendar at their meetings Tuesday, but it will be a topic for discussion – as it has been outside the walls of the Boston hotel ballroom where the owners are convening.

One thing seems certain: The 2014 draft will not be held in late April as it always has been, but instead will be in mid-May. This is because of a scheduling conflict at Radio City Music Hall, but it also could be a test balloon on moving the draft to that time of the year permanently.

“I think if we do it we’re going to do it for the long haul,” Giants president and CEO John Mara said of the adjustment this morning when he entered the meetings, “but that remains to be seen.”

The league does not need the approval of the NFLPA to move the dates of events such as the draft and the combine. It does need the union to agree on any change to the start of the league year, though. That could be coming. The most widely talked-about proposal would have the league year starting in early March (it’s now in the middle of the month), the combine in mid-March (it’s now in February) and the draft in early May.

Mara said he doesn’t see the changes as a big deal.

“It just changes the way we’ve been doing things for years,” he said.

Of course, in a sport where scheduling and structure are such important buzzwords, not everyone in the league will appreciate the tweaks. Especially not, for example, head coaches who are so accustomed to routine and generally rigid to changes.

“They all adapt,” Mara said. “Every time you change everything, certain coaches and other football people think it’s the end of the world. But you know what? They always manage to adapt.”

Tags: Giants , Jets , NFL Draft , John Mara

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