When it was introduced a few years ago, the NFL Rookie Symposium was as anonymous an event as any on the sports calendar. But anything that moves and says "NFL" seems to generate some sort of attention.
The rookie symposium, which is going on this week in Palm Beach, Fla., is a mandatory orientation for all drafted players. They get advice and hear presentations on what's expected of them as NFL players, how to deal with finances, and on appropriate ways to interact with the media and the public. Considering the off-the-field problems of so many NFL players over the last couple of years, highlighted by Adam "Pacman" Jones, the symposium's emphasis is sure to be on player conduct. Reportedly, the league will emphasize positive NFL role models, such as Walter Payton, Reggie White and John Elway.
The NFL, both through its broadcast partners and its own NFL Network, has done an impressive job of turning static events into viable TV programming. The NFL draft is certainly the best example, but we've also seen coverage of the scouting combine in Indianapolis and even the owners' annual meetings in March. NFL Network is not planning a live broadcast of the symposium but will have reports on its Total Access show and be filming material for a documentary on rookies Amobi Okoye (Houston) and Eric Wright (Cleveland). But I wouldn't be surprised if the symposium showed up as live coverage on NFL Network in the future. After all, it would be one more opportunity to allow fans a behind-the-scenes peek at how the league operates and, of course, see and hear from their respective teams' draft choices. And what Baltimore fan couldn't use a little look-ahead at pro football right about now?