COWBOYS WINNING

Dallas Cowboys win hosting duties for 2018 NFL Draft

AT&T Stadium is the place to be for the 2018 NFL Draft. Courtesy photo

Originally appeared on Culture Map/Dallas.

For the first time in history, the NFL draft will take place at an NFL stadium — and of course it's going to be the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Of course.

The 83rd NFL Draft will take place on April 26-28, 2018. The draft site will incorporate the stadium's field, stands, and outdoor plazas, creating an all-encompassing atmosphere and enabling more fans than ever before to watch team selections. It'll be draft everywhere you look.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the announcement at the league's annual fall meeting, following a review of the proposal by the Super Bowl & Major Events Advisory Committee and full ownership.

The decision is the result of a months-long examination of plans submitted by various cities to host the 2018 NFL Draft.

Goodell credits Philadelphia with having set up the shot for Dallas.

"Philadelphia raised the bar by taking the draft to another level, and this new opportunity in Dallas will enable us to continue the event's evolution and grow it even further," he says in a release. "We are grateful to the Dallas Cowboys, the cities of Arlington, Dallas, and Frisco, and the Dallas Sports Commission for their leadership in turning this vision into reality."

The NFL Draft has grown into one of the biggest sporting events of the year. A record-breaking 250,000 fans attended the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia, along with more than 1,800 accredited media who covered it.

Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft was broadcast live on ESPN and NFL Network. It was the most-watched cable program of the week and the most-watched sports event of the week on both broadcast and cable networks. During its three days, draft programming claimed five out of the top 10 spots among sports events, including the No. 1 spot.

There will be sponsorship. Called the NFL Draft Experience Presented by Dannon Oikos Triple Zero — which really just rolls off the tongue, does it not? — the festival will allow fans of all teams to participate in football drills, enjoy interactive exhibits and autograph sessions, and take pictures with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. It will take over the plazas directly outside the stadium, transforming the area for attendees.

The schedule is as follows:

  • April 26: The NFL Draft returns to primetime with Round 1.
  • April 27: Rounds 2 and 3 will feature members of the NFL Legends Community, as well as special guests to be announced.
  • April 28: Rounds 4-7 will conclude the event.

Round 1 will include incoming prospects walking the red carpet before entering the NFL Draft theater, which will be constructed directly on the field. A portion of the stadium will be opened up for the public to attend. Interested fans can win seated tickets at no cost.

Before the draft had grown into the entertainment juggernaut it is today, it was held almost exclusively at hotels, beginning in 1936 at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia, before hopscotching through cities such as Chicago, Milwaukee, and Washington, D.C. New York hotels held a lock on it from the '60s until 1995, when it officially moved to an entertainment venue — namely, Madison Square Garden. From 2006-2014, it was at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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