After much speculation that the NFL might move the date of its annual draft, the league announced officially that the 2014 NFL Draft will be held May 8-10.
The 2013 NFL Draft was held in late April at New York City's Radio City Music Hall. The draft had become a late April tradition, but that will change in 2014 due to a scheduling conflict with Radio City, according to the league.
"The decision was made after discussions with club personnel and key NFL business partners," the NFL said in a statement. "No decision has been made regarding the dates of the NFL Draft in 2015 and beyond. A variety of alternatives are being explored, teams were told, including holding the draft at Radio City or at other locations, either in the New York area or in other cities."
Other scouting and drafting related dates will not see a significant change, the NFL said. Regional scouting combines will begin in late January 2014 stretching through mid-February.
The National Scouting Combine will be held Feb. 18-25, 2014 in Indianapolis. The league's free agency period will begin March 11, 2014.
The delay in the draft will not impact practice days for the 2014 season, and changes in practice schedules are not expected in the years beyond.
"Clubs will have available to them the same number of practice days that they currently have and no changes in the off-season calendar are being considered that would reduce the number of practice days or the overall length of the off-season program," the NFL said. "At this time, changes are not anticipated in the off-season calendar for 2015 and beyond that would reduce the number of practice days or otherwise limit the off-season program."
The NFL only explained the change in the draft date to May due to the scheduling conflict with the venue, but many have suggested the later draft period will allow for more games. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has discussed a potential desire to move the league's schedule from 16 games to 18 games, and possibly increase the number of playoff participants.
A later draft date could allow for an extended season and playoffs. Currently the Super Bowl is usually held the first Sunday in February.
If the season went two weeks longer, the Super Bowl would likely be held on President's Day Weekend, a three-day holiday weekend that would give many viewers the Monday after the Super Bowl a day off from work.
Delaying the season further into February would also give the NFL more games to broadcast during the February "sweeps" period, a prime position to sell games for television.