With most of the United States sheltering in place because of the coronavirus, the 2020 NFL Draft is going to look a little bit different than it has in previous years. But to former players such as Atlanta Falcons Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen, the setup may seem a little more familiar.
When the New Orleans Saints selected Andersen in 1982, the NFL draft wasn’t the event it is today. While Andersen remembers Chris Berman as the host, ESPN was still in its infancy stage, and there were no reporters such as Adam Schefter or Ian Rapoport breaking draft picks on Twitter.
In 1982, there was no internet. There weren’t even cell phones. The virtual 2020 NFL Draft may not be taking its viewers back in a time machine, but Andersen can relate to the players who will be at home this weekend waiting for a call and watching the TV.
He can especially relate to any players who see their draft stocks fall in real time.
“We were just drinking beer, hanging around and waiting for the phone to ring,” the Hall of Fame kicker said about his own draft day experience. “It really didn’t happen until late that afternoon. Guys were sleeping, the keg was floating, we’re out of beer. I was getting discouraged.”
Andersen said that prior to the draft, he heard he could be drafted as high as the second round. But on draft day, the third round came and went without a phone call. On the final pick of the third round, Andersen remembers hearing news on ESPN that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were considering him, but that never materialized.
Three picks later, though, at 86th overall, he received the call. The phone rang and Saints assistant coach Jack Cherry was on the line.
“He said, ‘Hey man, do you like Budweiser and country music?’”
Andersen didn’t really know how to respond and admits now that being at Michigan State, he didn’t even really know where New Orleans was.
“I had no communication with the Saints. I actually had to go look at a map to see where the hell New Orleans was. The only thing I had really heard about the city was jazz, Louis Armstrong and alligators. I was up in Michigan.”
But Andersen did know enough to realize he needed to wake up the draft party guests who had fallen asleep so they could celebrate.
Just like nearly every NFL fan this year, Andersen will be watching the 2020 draft at home. He described the current sports landscape in the COVID-19 era as “an abyss,” but he is still looking forward to seeing the new draft format designed to be completely virtual.
“It will be fun to see how (the draft picks) celebrate although they aren’t going to be able to gather 100 people.”
Andersen lives in Atlanta where he kicked eight seasons for the Falcons from 1995-2000 and again from 2006-07. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017 and is an ambassador for Vegas Insider and RotoGrinders.
While there are no sports games to bet on, Vegas Insider and RotoGrinders is taking prop bets for the 2020 NFL Draft and is still releasing Super Bowl odds for the 2020 season.