Earlier this week, we reported on an unwritten agreement, between ESPN and NFL Network and the various employees of the two companies, not to spoil draft picks in tomorrow night’s NFL Draft by announcing them before Roger Goodell had a chance to read the names aloud from behind the podium on the Radio City Music Hall stage. Now, it sounds like the best intentions of the two cable networks will be all for naught.
In theory, the plan was excellent. The draft is an immensely entertaining television event, but its drama is completely ruined when all the picks are tipped (either by insiders tweeting the picks or by showing draft prospects on the phone — a telltale sign they are about to hear their name called) in the moments before they become official.
What ESPN and NFL Network didn’t account for is that other networks have their own insiders, too. CBS isn’t broadcasting the draft, so it has no obligation nor incentive not to spoil picks. And spoil picks is exactly what one CBS employee plans to do.
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, a previous employee of NFL Network and a veteran of covering the draft, has revealed that he plans to spoil as many picks as he can on Twitter. He currently has about 300,000 followers and says that he will try to tweet out picks before they happen.
“We’re not a broadcast partner for the draft,” La Canfora said. “I will be trying to get the information out as quickly and accurately as possible. What event is made more for Twitter than the NFL draft? If the teams have the information; if the guys in the production truck have the information; if the commissioner has the information; why wouldn’t passionate football fans want it as well?”
Following the draft on Twitter is a lot of fun. It gives fans a chance to react to what’s happening, it gives comedians (and wannabe comedians) a chance to crack jokes and it gives experts a chance to analyze teams’ decisions on the fly.
Unfortunately, fans who don’t want their draft viewing experience to be spoiled will have to stay away from Twitter tomorrow night. Unfollowing La Canfora for the evening will help limit spoilers, but it probably won’t be enough to keep your draft watching experience pure. La Canfora’s a very big name in the NFL world and there’s no doubt that his spoiler tweets will be retweeted into the feed of almost every NFL fan.
Reaction to this news on Twitter has been mixed, with some fans decrying La Canfora as a party pooper and others arguing that we now live in a world of instant information and that finding out picks on Twitter before they are officially announced is the way things should be.
The drama of hearing a pick announced at the NFL draft was fun. That era is over.
— Aaron Nagler (@Aaron_Nagler) April 24, 2013
This Twitter ethics debate about tipping picks is silly. Should we then not report FA signings/trades and wait for teams to announce them?
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) April 24, 2013
@jasonlacanfora Your the kind of guy that reads the plot of a movie online before you watch it huh? Don’t spoil the picks. Unfollowed
— Kyle Theriault (@KyleTheriault) April 24, 2013
It’s little-man syndrome to spoil #NFL draft picks.
— Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) April 24, 2013