KUSA – The City of Denver and its surrounding area has the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, 297 days of sunshine (had to subtract the past three days of rain), a modern football stadium, ballpark and arena.
It gets all the top theater productions at the downtown performing arts center, the top bands at various venues – including the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre. It has museums, art centers, botanic gardens, a zoo, an aquarium, an overflow of craft breweries and relatively short, scenic drives to world-famous ski lodges.
What it’s never had is a chance to host the NFL Draft.
And it probably won’t Tuesday when league owners vote on which city will host the 2019 NFL Draft.
Denver is a decided underdog to host the event, with expectations soaring for Nashville. Come to think of it, it is difficult to beat the idea of having next year’s first-round draft picks walk across the Grand Ole Opry stage.
Nashville, Denver, Cleveland-Canton, Ohio, Las Vegas and Kansas City are the five finalists to host the 2019 and 2020 NFL Drafts. The NFL was to announce its 2019 winner on Tuesday during its spring meetings in Atlanta, but word is the 2020 announcement will be postponed until a later date.
Just as well for Denver as it has little chance to win the 2020 bid because of scheduling conflicts with downtown hotels. The City of Denver had proposed holding the 2019 Draft at Red Rocks Amphitheatre with the fan party – called the NFL Draft Experience – to be held at Civic Center Park.
However, signs point to league officials being more impressed with Nashville’s package, at least for 2019. The NFL Draft had been held for 50 consecutive years in New York City until the league opened the event up for bid starting in 2015. Chicago hosted the event in 2015-16, Philadelphia in 2017 and Dallas this year. Even during the days of the American Football League draft in the 1960s, Denver never hosted the draft.