The NFL’s First-Ever Virtual Draft Made Bill Belichick’s Dog Nike an Instagram Star
As Belichick presumably talked to members of his team and prepared to make a draft pick, Nike sat in his chair and stared at the computer screen. The image went viral immediately.
The digital NFL draft
Originally, the NFL Draft was supposed to take place at the Caesars Forum convention center. It was going to have the red carpet, high fashion, and excitement that comes with every NFL Draft.
As a bonus, however, this was meant to coincide with the Raiders’ entrance into Sin City. All of this changed when COVID-19 shut down large gatherings.
Left with a decision to make, the NFL decided to go where many television productions are going and host the draft virtually. Coaches, GMs, players, and media personalities all attended the draft via the internet.
Teams convened on Microsoft Teams to discuss draft picks and get everything in order before they made the pick. Then, Roger Goodell, who was in his basement, would announce the pick.
This made for a memorable draft, with Joe Burrows and the rest of the draftees not making their typical walk to the stage. There was choppy internet, fascinating looks at different people’s houses, and the fixings one would expect from a massive video conference. When the Patriots were on the clock, however, all eyes were fixated on Bill Belichick’s pet dog.
A star is born
With the New England Patriots on the clock for the 37th pick of the draft, the ESPN feed went to Belichick’s house. Those expecting to see the legendary coach sitting there were surprised to see not him, but a dog manning a pair of laptops. Of course, when the internet falls in love with a dog, things went crazy from there.
No, Nike was not making draft picks for his owner’s team. Instead, he was waiting patiently for a treat that was sitting on the table. According to the New York Post, Belichick’s girlfriend, Linda Holiday, explained what happened to Adam Schefter on his podcast.
“I know Bill had a couple of treats that were left over near his laptop and he stepped away from the table,” Holiday told Schefter (per The New York Post). “And all of a sudden he looks and he goes, ‘Look, look at the table’ and there Nike was just sitting there waiting patiently and he knew his treats were there, so that’s what prompted him getting up to the table and he was just waiting patiently for the word to take his treats.”
It should come as no surprise that a coach like Belichick would have such a well-trained dog. Holiday, who already ran an account for Nike that was mostly followed by her friends, said that his following skyrocketed to over 16,000.
Bill Belichick’s dog is something unique
Nike made an already unusual NFL Draft more memorable without even trying to do so. While so many others were finding out their futures in football, he simply wanted a treat.
It was the perfect way to encapsulate a draft process that was already so out of the ordinary. What made it special, however, was the fact that it will, in all likelihood, never be done again.
If everything goes according to plan, the draft will be back next year in New York. However, given the uncertainty of the immediate future, whether or not this will be a crowded affair or not will depend on the control of the coronavirus outbreak. Until we know, however, fans will always have the memory of a dog waiting for his treat as his owner waited for his pick in the 2020 Draft.