|The 2017 NFL Draft in Philly|
I got to experience this signature event of the National Football League up close and in person as a Sergeant with the Philadelphia Police Department. It was just the latest in a number of high profile events that I've had the pleasure to enjoy while on-duty during my career.
Assigned to take charge of a group of police officers, we spent both days on the south side of the 2400 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
It was a slight surprise to me when my group actually took that position and found that we were at the very front lines of the stage and seating arena area. It turned out to be an exciting and rewarding assignment.
The crowd was massive, but Philly-friendly and cooperative. As far as their interactions with myself and my officers, I couldn't have asked for a more positive reception. Everyone was friendly to us and appreciative of our efforts, and quite a few let us know that fact.
One thing that none of us knew, from the top brass on down to rookie police officers, was exactly what kind of crowd we would be met with. It was the first time that the NFL had put on their annual Draft of college players in that big of a show.
Philly can be notorious at times for our fan reactions, especially where Eagles fans are concerned. You also had to add in the factor that this was a free event. Would the crowd turn surly at any point? Sometimes it only takes a few bad apples to spoil things for the whole bunch. If any officials held any concerns of a worst-case scenario, those never materialized. In fact, just the opposite.
Even when faced with moments involving the hated, rival Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, or Washington Redskins, the Philly faithful responded with spirited but controlled reactions.
The biggest target of the 'Boo Birds' over the first couple of days was easily the Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell. Yet even with the Commish, I witnessed first-hand a somewhat different reaction from the crowds.