NFL executive salutes Philadelphia & Eagles fans during the three-day draft
It could be argued that the biggest stars of this NFL draft weekend were the Philadelphia Eagles fans.
While fans of many teams attended the festivities, the Eagles fans were at the forefront and their passion was displayed to the entire nation during the three-day event held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, with the draft itself staged at the Art Museum.
"Philadelphia has been a fantastic host and in our eyes, the bar has been raised for what the draft is and can be," said Peter O'Reilly the NFL's senior vice president of events in a phone interview.
O'Reilly said the fans' passion came across clearly, whether somebody was attending the draft or watching it on ESPN or the NFL Network.
"We have incredible fans in every market, but Eagles fans are incredible and set a great tone," he said.
Thursday's first round added great theater with three teams trading up to choose quarterbacks in the first 12 selections.
"That is a big story that rarely happens," O'Reilly said, "but the story coming out of that night was the passion and size of the crowd, and the passion of the Eagles fans. It's a testament to the city and the fans."
The NFL announced that the three-day event attracted 250,000 fans, a new record. The old mark was 200,000 for three days in Chicago in 2015.
No decision has been made on where next year's draft will be held, according to O'Reilly, but he said it should come near the end of the summer. Last year it was announced on Sept. 1 that Philadelphia would host the 2017 draft.
At the very least, Philadelphia left a good impression on the NFL as it decides on future draft venues.