JOE BIDDLE: Nashville deserves to host 2019 NFL Draft

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Our ‘IT’ City got smoking hot good news delivered from the NFL owners Wednesday. 

Nashville will host the NFL Draft in April 2019. Just think, we beat out some heavyweight cities that wanted what Nashville got. 

This is Butch Spyridon’s baby. You may not know Spyridon. He’s the President and CEO of Nashville’s Convention and Visitors Corp. 

A lot of people worked hard to bring the NFL Draft here, but Spyridon pushed all the right buttons. 

This city deserves to host the Draft. Its reputation of being a city that has its act together has been growing. We’re no longer a city that comes in second. 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell welcomed Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk Wednesday. 

“You are now on the clock, Amy,’’ Goodell informed her. 

“It’s a big day in Nashville,’’ Strunk said. “Being entrusted with one of the league’s premier gatherings is an honor and a responsibility that we take seriously.’’ 

Nashville has everything needed for visitors to have a good time while they are here. Make that a great time. We’ve got concerts. Indoors in the Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators hockey team. 

We’ve got concerts in the Ryman Auditorium, where the best of live country music can be heard. For years the Ryman was home of the Grand Old Opry.  

We’ve got an Amphitheatre in the heart of downtown where you can relax under the stars above while hearing the hits of various performers. 

Nashville has it all and when I moved here in November of 1979, it was lacking in not only entertainment, but sports teams. 

The sports were limited to Vanderbilt football and basketball. Larry Schmittou took a gamble and brought minor league baseball to Greer Stadium. Today it is empty, and a new stadium is situated where long ago, the Nashville Vols played. 

The NFL was not in our picture. There were some people who had the money to buy an NFL team, but they had no interest in doing so. There were other people who wanted to bring the NFL to Nashville but didn’t have the money. There was no NFL worthy football stadium. 

Memphis was thought to be the logical city to get an NFL franchise. They rolled out the red carpet, flying those with NFL ties into the Bluff City and wining and dining them. 

But for the late Bud Adams, an oil and cattleman based in Houston, we would not get a franchise. When he could not persuade Houston’s city leaders to build the Oilers a new stadium, he decided to leave town. Fortunately for Nashville, Adams could see it was a city on the rise with demographics while Memphis was not. 

Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen answered a phone call from Adams, who pitched him on locating his team to Nashville. Still there were protests from Nashvillians while others wanted a team. It ended up in a heated vote, where the Yes-side won the voting. 

From there, Nashville has been a city that has added an expansion NHL team Predators and currently has a professional soccer team. 

The Predators Smashville fan-base played a big part in getting the NFL’s attention. They turned out by the thousands, filling not only the Bridgestone Arena, but also the outside viewing parties, sometimes in freezing weather. 

Titans fans also came out in droves when the Titans gave them a look at the first change of a new uniform and a free concert by Florida Georgia Line. 

The time is overdue for the NFL to recognize what a vibrant city we live, work and play in. 

Welcome to the big time Nashville. 

Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at joebiddle11@gmail.com

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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