SANTA CLARA (KPIX) — Uncertainty is dominating every facet of life during the pandemic, but according to 49ers general manager John Lynch, Thursday’s virtual NFL Draft setup is a source of confidence.
Lynch spent over 40 minutes speaking with members of the Bay Area media via Zoom and concluded the press conference by panning his camera around the work station at his home where he’ll be calling draft shots. The 49ers currently hold the 13th overall selection which was acquired from the Indianapolis Colts in the DeForest Buckner trade.READ MORE: California Reopens: San Francisco Celebrates End Of COVID Restrictions; 'You Can Look At People, You Can Smile'
My at-home war room is almost like I’m at the @SAPSports Performance Facility. Thanks to our IT and video teams + our scouts and coaches we’re ready for the #NFLDraft this week. #IGYB pic.twitter.com/ytuZKY9Bk4
— John Lynch (@JohnLynch49ers) April 20, 2020
Typically, team front office members would be at headquarters in Santa Clara making decisions in an area commonly referred to as a “war room.” Because of social distancing orders, personnel will try and stay connected digitally from all corners of the Bay Area.
“These guys have been unbelievable,” Lynch praised the 49ers technology support staff that has worked tirelessly to fit homes with proper hardware.
Three screens and three LAN line phones are perched prominently on Lynch’s desk so he can easily video conference with close members of the 49ers front office and coaching staff. They also have the capability of calling all other teams from around the league to help facilitate trades. Anyone is accessible at the press of the button — that’s the idea at least.
Four other monitors sit immediately in front of his desk that will display a live feed of the draft as well as regular tape study. Lynch said he set up inside his guesthouse where his “parents stay when they visit from San Diego.”
The NFL performed a test run this weekend and some general managers complained of technical glitches. Lynch is confident the 49ers won’t have any hiccups when it comes to technology.READ MORE: UPDATE: Crews Respond To Structure Fire In Oakland
“I didn’t really see any of that,” Lynch said of the reported problems. “The technology was fine, it was some procedural things.”
Other organizations forgot to mute their lines during conversations that inadvertently broadcast to the rest of the league. It would have been a potentially devastating mistake.
“If they tell you to mute yourself you should probably listen,” Lynch said.
Last month, general managers were reportedly hoping to postpone the event, but Commissioner Roger Goodell insisted that the show go on. It’s anyone’s guess what the 49ers calendar will look like going forward once the final pick is made on Saturday. Some feel part of all of the season could be in jeopardy.
“Some people make the compelling case there’s no way (the season) is happening and that scares me,” Lynch said. “Some people make a compelling case that we’re playing and this is how we’re going to do it.”
Ultimately football will return when health officials give the green light. The NFL was in the unique position of starting their offseason when the pandemic hit, but Lynch wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to have free agency last month. The juxtaposition of handing out multimillion dollar contracts up against the reality of people losing their lives and jobs didn’t seem right.
“I understand people are out there hurting… what the heck are we doing with free agency and the draft?” Lynch said of his conflicted feelings. “But people would call and say, ‘Thank God you did that because it kept us entertained.'”
This will be the first legitimate live event since the sports world was shutdown in March.MORE NEWS: CA Election Officials Want Newsom Recall Held After Mid-September
ESPN and NFL Network set a record with an estimated 47.5 million viewers across three days of programming. That number could be dwarfed this year.