Story, photos by Tyra Gardner
The 82nd Annual NFL Draft 2017 presented by Dannon Oikos Triple Zero returned to Philadelphia, PA for the first time in 50 years on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the heart of the city at the end of April 2017. More than 200,000 people attended this amazing athletic event supporting all NFL Teams and showing increasing love for the Philadelphia Eagles. The NFL Draft experience was free event for all.
The city of Philadelphia hosted a first class event that catered to all audiences with areas for people to play football in addition to NFL interactive experiences. People were able to get autographs from current and former players, take pictures with the Vince Lombardi Trophy and Superbowl Rings. To gain the full experience, fans were encouraged to download the Fan Mobile Pass App and then register within the app. It was estimated that over 200,000 people checked out the NFL Draft Experience, a free three-day event (also on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway) featuring dozens of fun, interactive experiences.
The draft itself took place in a 3,000-seat open-air theater on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and there was lottery for tickets to sit inside the theater. The NFL Draft returned to its roots this year! On February 8, 1936, the very first NFL Draft took place at Philadelphia’s Ritz-Carlton. The selection consisted of nine rounds, zero team scouts and no media coverage. Teams took turns picking from the 90 names written on a blackboard. The city has hosted the draft 11 times total, with the last event taking place here in 1961.
Activities at the draft included included the Vertical Jump, jump as high as you can and hit the corresponding flag to discover your vertical reach just like at the NFL Scouting Combine; 40-Yard Dash, race down the field against your opponents and digital NFL players on a giant 40-yard long LED wall; Hail Mary, test your long-distance accuracy by throwing a deep pass over defenders into a drop-in net; NFL Training Camp, race through a series of obstacles and train like a pro; Oikos Triple Zero Field Goal Kick, test your ability to kick a field goal through NFL uprights and the Touch Pass, master one of the most difficult throws for an NFL quarterback by throwing the ball on an arc over a defensive player and into a net. Many other sponsors and game play was available as well.
Superbowl XI Ring on display in the Pavilion.
NFL Museum that attracted large crowds and housed a great deal of memorabilia such as the Super Bowl Rings from past Big Games.
NFL DRAFT Stage and Screen where the team selections were announced.
NFL Teams Represented with a mannequin dressed in NY jersey and team flags.
Dannon Oikos Yogurt was one of the corporate hosted several NFL Legends to meet and take pictures with several players.
Kids Corner is where children are able to try on football jerseys and take pictures making them feel like they are a part of the team.
Some gum left behind from a day of fun!