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15 Questions About the NFL’s Decision to Have Part of the 2020 Draft … in a Fountain?

The red carpet stage will reportedly float outside the fountains of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. We have some questions, beginning with: Why?

NFL/Ringer illustration

On Tuesday morning, the ground shifted, the waves swelled, and the clouds broke as an absolutely galactic piece of news dropped into the earth’s atmosphere. The red carpet portion of the 2020 NFL draft, which is being held in Las Vegas, will not take place in a casino, or a convention center, or even the Raiders’ new stadium. No no, those choices would all be too logical. Instead, Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times reported that it will take place “on the water at the Fountains of Bellagio,” and that the “players will be transported to the stage by boat.”

Wait, sorry, let me just quote that last line again, for posterity. “The players will be transported to the stage by boat.” OK, now that we’ve cleared that up, take a look:

Naturally this decision stirred up some opinions (as did the artist’s rendering that came with Markazi’s tweet), but even more than that, it generated some questions. So we at The Ringer decided to put those questions to print in the hopes that the NFL—or whatever alien came up with this idea—will bestow upon us some answers. Here we go:

1. Why?

The NFL is not a “fun” league, nor a “goofy” league, nor even a “hip with the kids” league, so this is a marked departure from anything I have come to expect from them. That being said: This may be the greatest decision the NFL has ever made?

2. What the hell is up with that boat?

I guess since Vegas is in the middle of a desert there probably weren’t a lot of options, but couldn’t we have gotten something cooler like a speedboat, or a Jet Ski? Or really anything that’s not a glorified Midwestern pontoon? Related: Does this boat have towing capacity? I.e., if someone showed up with a large inner tube, would they be allowed to hitch a ride? (Asking for a friend.)

3. What will be the over/under for the number of players who’ll jump into the water?

4. What will be the over/under for players who’ll fall?

5. Will there be a lifeguard on duty?

Some possible options proposed by my colleagues: Nathan Peterman, Adam Schefter, Booger McFarland, Rob Gronkowski, and Rob Lowe. If you see any of those guys are your local YMCA getting certified, please, please @ me.

6. Who will be piloting the boat?

I volunteer as tribute.

7. How many prospects will now be wearing Sperrys on draft night?

Water wings? Scuba masks? Niagara Falls–style ponchos? The fashion choices are endless.

8. Will the Alabama players have better luck on this boat than they did on Nick Saban’s?

9. How much money would I have to pay someone to push Roger Goodell in? Or even to pull off an Office-like koi pond incident?

10. Will Suzy Kolbert have to interview players on the boat?

11. Will the fountains go off after each pick?

If so, will the red carpet stage have a splash guard?

12. Where will the fans be?

Will this turn into the NFL’s version of the WGC-Dell Match Play event in Austin, where fans get to tailgate and heckle PGA pros from boats? If so, which player will give us an image as iconic as this Dustin Johnson one?

13. What if the boat hits an iceberg?

OK, this scenario is admittedly unlikely, but no one thought the Titanic would sink, either. We’ve got to plan for any and all contingencies here, people.

14. How will nautical experience affect Mel Kiper’s Big Board?

Do you get bumped up if you took sailing lessons as a kid? Or if you’re a good water skier?

15. Can we make the 2020 NFL draft a national holiday?

Hopefully the NFL issues a quick and thorough response to all of these questions. But until then, here’s my parting advice to all you players out there: Make sure whatever suit you pick looks good with a life jacket.

Editor’s note: This piece was updated after publication to reflect that the red carpet stage, and not (as originally reported) the main stage, of the 2020 NFL draft will be on water.