Prior to the inaugural National Football League (NFL) draft in 1936, players were free to sign with any club, which made the stronger teams even stronger and created much disparity. On May 19th, 1935, the league owners adopted a plan for a college player draft. Proposed by Bert Bell, the Eagles owner and future NFL commissioner, the plan called for teams to select players in inverse order of their finish the previous season.
Starting with 9 rounds in 1936, it expanded to 10 and eventually 20, before being reduced back down to 12 rounds, which it has today. In massively meeting its objective of parity between teams, it was adopted by all the other leagues, i.e. MLB, NHL, NBA, changing sports universally. For the NFL, it’s become a HUGE event, with literally millions tuning in every year.
NFL teams over the years have built their success on the draft and the great picks they’ve made, whether it be San Francisco in the 80s, Dallas in the 90s, or numerous other teams during the league’s history. Without question, the first to do it with such great success was the Pittsburgh Steelers, under coach Chuck Noll. Before free agency, the dynasty that won four Super Bowls in the 70s, did it entirely on the strength of the draft, with Hall of Famers from the first round that include Terry Bradshaw, Joe Greene, Franco Harris, and Lynn Swann. Add to the list other Steeler Hall of Famers from the 70s…Stallworth, Webster, Ham, Lambert, Blount, and Shell.
Forgive me for this walk down memory lane, but growing up in Pittsburgh, in the 70s was a special time for Steeler fans. It was incredible to be part of it Sunday after Sunday, Super Bowl after Super Bowl.
So what is it about the NFL Draft, that will take place between tomorrow, April 23rd, and Saturday, April 25th that reminds me of Easter? I think the answer is “hope”. Think about it. Regardless of the team you root for, no matter the sport, when it comes to the annual draft, you anxiously wait, or at least are interested in, who the first several picks will be. Particularly when it comes to your team, you wonder what impact the player is going to have. You’re hopeful that it will be positive and significantly so. You have hope for the future (of your team), yet there is still the unknown. Will the draft choice develop into a star? Will the team perform well?
I hope (no pun intended) you don’t think poorly of me because of this analogy, but I think the above relates to Easter Sunday. Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope. Knowing how Jesus had to love us to die on the Cross, gives us hope. Our faith gives us hope. Although we “know” the end of the story, that we won, that Jesus promises us salvation, there’s still the unknown. Although we have hope, we have questions like:
- Will I go to Heaven? How do I get there?
- What type of life am I to live on earth?
- What’s my purpose? My call?
In short, it’s up to you. Ironically, you can gain salvation by living Heaven here on earth. That’s done by loving God, loving your neighbor, embracing your God given purpose, and following God’s will….which is the ONLY path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment.
So like with the NFL draft, where we have hope yet uncertainties, the same is true in knowing that Jesus rose from the dead. Unlike the draft though, when it comes to Jesus’ Resurrection and its impact on your life, it’s all up to you.
As always, feel free to contact me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with comments, questions, or concerns.
God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!