The Nashville NFL Draft was one for the record books — and we’re not just talking about alcohol consumption.
More than 600,000 people crammed into Lower Broadway for the three-day extravaganza in 2019, with football — for at least one week — surpassing bachelorette parties as the town’s No. 1 obsession.
The event was a huge success — but only because the NFL got lucky with the weather.
Trey Wingo — ESPN’s Draft host for more than two decades — remembers a harrowing moment that would have put a real jolt into the entire event.
Trey Wingo Remembers the Nashville NFL Draft
Nashville was unbelievable. The crowds, the energy, the cowboy boots.
All of it was fantastic.
But it was also an outdoor festival in Tennessee in April, a time for wild weather in the Southeast. We were all ready to go — and then we got the weather report.
We were told that there were concerns about a massive thunderstorm with potential tornadic activity during the draft.
That was a problem. A big one. The whole set is a metal structure. It might as well be just a lightning rod saying, “Hit here, God.”
We had a contingency plan should that happen. The contingency plan was if lightning is in the area, shut it down, and everybody evacuate. We had a studio in a restaurant not too far away. The plan in case of a storm was that Wendi Nix would take over the coverage until we could physically get myself, Booger McFarland, Louis Riddick, and Mel Kiper from the stage into the restaurant and resume coverage there.
And they were going to take all the potential draftees, put them in school buses, and drive them away from the set until we got the all-clear sign.
And I’m telling you, up until five minutes before the start of the draft, that was the concern. That we were gonna have to shut down the entire thing because of lightning strikes in Nashville.
And once again, the NFL — as is seemingly always the case — got lucky.
It drizzled for like 20 minutes. And that was it. The party continued and didn’t stop until early Sunday morning. Seriously, the NFL lives a charmed existence.
Another example: Super Bowl 48 in New York.
It was bitter cold all week long. Super Bowl Sunday, 52 degrees. Monday after the Super Bowl, 12 inches of snow fell in New York. The Golden Horseshoe, baby. Ed Werder was stuck in New York, I think, for three days trying to get home. It was perfect weather on game day.
Bitter cold all week. 52 and sunny on Sunday, and 12 inches of snow on Monday. The NFL continues to just come up with aces, baby.
More NFL Draft Stories from Trey Wingo
- Inspiration, Intoxication, and Precipitation
- The Windy City Weather/Tyreek Hill Year
- Fly, Eagles Fly
- The COVID-19 Draft
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