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    I have been a fan of the NFL for most of my life, but the 2022 NFL Draft has given me my first chance to cover the NFL and I have found it a very exciting experience so far.

     I got to Las Vegas on Tuesday before the first round of the Draft on Thursday.  I was able to attend media press conferences that took us to the Media Red Carpet Stage on the Fountains of Bellagio, the Draft Theater where all the selections will be made and the NFL Fan Experience that includes various interactive opportunities, displays of the three Raiders Vince Lombardi trophies, helmets and lockers representing each of the 32 teams in the NFL, as well as food and beverage booths and NFL merchandise booths.  The fan experience area is made up of over 1,000,000 square feet.  Up to 600,000 fans are expected to go through the area between Thursday and Saturday.  Exact numbers will be announced early next week.  

     For me, it was a special experience to get the chance to look inside the logistics and operations of the NFL.  I was amazed to see the finished product of the Red Carpet Stage on the Bellagio Fountains and the Draft Theater next to Caesar’s Forum adjacent to the High Roller behind the Linq Hotel and Casino.  It was also very breathtaking to hear all the details of what went into making the decisions as what to include in the event.

     In one of the press conferences we were told how the NFL wanted to make each “on the road Draft” especially tied to the local customs of the host city of the NFL team located there.

     We were also told that the planning for this Draft actually began in early 2019 after the announcement that the 2020 Draft would be held in Vegas.  The officers and organizers were deeply disappointed that didn’t happen due to COVID, but stayed the course and made changes to the original plan after it was announced Vegas would host in 2022.  The delay forced a few original plans to be scrapped but some new and even more exciting displays and plans were added in to make it a special event for all the hundreds of thousands of NFL fans who would attend over the 3-day event.

     It was also surreal to me to be able to be in the Media Workroom with media representatives from all over the US and to visit with some of them and learn about their experiences of covering the NFL.

     All in all, it was a very special opportunity I had and I look forward to covering more NFL events in the future.

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