2012 NFL Draft: The Season Begins Here

The NFL Draft means something to everyone, in their own way.

For the teams, it is a chance to obtain those missing pieces of a puzzle that was the Super Bowl last season.  Others looking for fresh, young blood to rejuvenate a team to push its way back into contention.  But to everyone involved in football, it is four days that could change the course of a teams season.
To the fans, everyone takes it differently.  To the casual football fan, it is a couple of days where teams pick college players in order to fill positions on their team.  To the frenzied fan of a team, the opportunity to retool and find some fresh faces to add to the veterans who can get the job done.  But to the die hard fan of the draft, it is a lot more.

The die hard fan plays out the draft the same way Robert Byrne and Bobby Fischer play a chess match.  All the players are lined up by position.  Moves thought out carefully.  Reacting to your opponent.  Thinking ahead to gain an advantage.  Studding statistics.  Know the advantage before a move is made.  The die hard fan knows these moves.

But to everyone, it is a look into what could be the future of a franchise or someone looking to keep their dream alive.

The draft is a magical time.  A time where any fan can see a potential hall of famer be named to their team of destiny.  A moment in time where a fan stops to imagine hearing their own name announced as a draft selection.  Draft day brings us one step closer to seeing how these new gladiators of the gridiron match up to their veteran counterparts.

Maybe its fitting the draft takes place in New York. A city where people come to from all over the globe to capture their dream. They come to see where their future lies. A city that has delivered to so many can now deliver to them.

Football fans will converge at Radio City Music Hall for four days to not just see who gets drafted, but to immerse themselves in the NFL experience.  Fan events, player interaction, and bickering between other fans makes this a precursor of a season to come.  Groundwork to be laid as to whose fans will have bragging rights next year.

You can ask any fan how they feel about the draft.  Everyone will mention at least one great signing and complain about 99 others.  Those are fans, that is what they do.  Fans are the best market research to let a sports franchise know how it is doing.  You can hear them loud and clear after each and every draft selection.  The teams conscience.

Every fan has some part of the NFL calendar they look forward to.  Some wait all year for the draft.  Why?  It is the official day where collegiate athletes become professional football players.  The NCAA to the NFL.  A transition.  The new breed that pushes the progression of football just one more notch on the game’s time-line.

The start of the 2012 season begins on Thursday.  The first major event on the NFL calendar for the new season.  Every franchise waiting, patient for their turn to select that next great player to represent their franchise.  The new face of the team marketing machine that entices fans like a circus ringleader.  To get you to cheer for the greatest game on earth.

And we do.

Not just because of that.  It’s the memories.  Being able to share that experience with others to smile and laugh about later.  Giving that next generation the lesson needed to stay educated on how the NFL draft works.  The Draft has become an event onto itself.  The Draft at Radio City is like the Allman Brothers coming to the Beacon Theater.  You know it is coming every year.  Planning ahead to make the necessary arrangements.

This is a big week for those players looking to be selected by the professional team of their choice.  Some fans looking to see if they predicted the same selection as their favorite team.  The anticipation could be a little more than some can bear.  But with fans from every team in attendance this week, it will be a week those players looking for a new home will not forget.  If the teams make a bad move, the fans will never let them forget.  So, are you ready?

Help The Jets Design Their 2012 Season Tickets

This past Monday, the Jets announced via Facebook a contest where some lucky fan could win season tickets for the upcoming 2012 season.  One lucky individual will be able to share their ideas and have them voted on to see if their design is worthy enough to be placed on a season ticket.  Here are details from the Jets:

The Jets have announced that the team is asking fans to help design their 2012 season tickets. Fans who like the Jets on Facebook can vote for the photos that will be incorporated into the 2012 season ticket design. Also, fans can enter to win a pair of 300-level 2012 season tickets and one lucky fan will get to use the tickets he or she helped design to see the Jets live at MetLife Stadium this year.*

Fans can vote on three tickets per week for a total of nine tickets through April 23rd.  The 10th ticket is reserved for the Jets Ring of Honor, an announcement that will be made later this year.  Seven current players – David Harris, Santonio Holmes, Nick Mangold, Sione Pouha, Darrelle Revis, Mark Sanchez, Bryan Thomas – and Coach Rex Ryan will be included in this vote.  Curtis Martin, 2012 Hall of Fame inductee and Jets Ring of Honor great, will be featured on a ticket and also included in the photo vote.

Fans can vote and enter for a chance to win at facebook.com/jets.

This is the first week pictures can be submitted and voted upon.  The Jets used Facbook again this year for fans to enter into a drawing to announce a draft pick at this years 2012 NFL Draft in NYC.
The Jets always make their official announcement regarding any contest or promotion on their website first.  But more and more people visit and use Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis.  It makes sense to update on these sites more often as the Jets will will reach a larger demographic.

Facebook and Twitter provide a faster, streamlined process for conducting market research.  From comments left to liking a page to entering contests, companies have instant information provided to them on a real time basis.  A company’s Facebook page or Twitter account can do the work of a market research firm, to some degree.

Now the team needs to integrate social media into their live events.  Whether at a game or a rally, it is easy to use tech outdoors to keep the plugged in updated on their live feed.  Many events already do this during trade events, company sponsored events, and countless more gatherings that use social media to spread the message outside the event.

Each Bing event I went to utilized Twitter in easy ways.  They set up monitors to view feed, provided a hash tag, and gave out prizes to those who Tweeted.  Twitter is great for real time during live events.  Facebook is good for real time on a mobile device.  Hard to set up a public live feed in a central location.  Facebook is better for individual use to create buzz or on the company page with real updates, pictures, comments, and more.

I walked and filmed in just about every parking section at MetLife Stadium.  I have seen what fans do in each section.  Like nomadic tribes, they all have a certain spot they prefer.  There are many ways the Jets could implement social media interaction during tailgating.  If they create a buzz and feature aspects of it during the game, it would provide a true social experience.

The digital screens around the outside of the stadium could feature Twitter posts with the Jets hash tag.  Show pictures taken right there during tailgating so people can see themselves as they enter the stadium.  Best tailgate picture could be featured on the website and in the stadium.  There are many other ways to integrate social media into tailgating, but if the Jets want to know, they know who to contact.

Many Jets bloggers and fans already use social media to enhance their tailgate.  L7 Tailgate was founded on Twitter.  Their use and others I know of supersede what the Jets do with social media during tailgating.  When done right, you create the perfect pregame fan interaction.  I am not sure what other sports franchises do, but the Jets can do more to create real time in real time.