You’ll have to go way back in NFL Draft history to find the answer to this question, but here are a few hints:
- Paul W. Bryant was still coaching at Alabama.
- Jimmy Carter was still President.
- Adam “Pac Man” Jones hadn’t been born yet.
- Pac Man the video game was taking the world by storm.
- Coaches’ game day attire was coat and tie. No headphones.
- Robert De Niro put on an Oscar winning performance in Raging Bull.
It was 1980, ladies and gentlemen. It has been 32 years since the first round of the NFL Draft failed to include a player from a school in the state of Florida. Between 1981 and 2011 (inclusive), at least one player from a school in the Sunshine State was taken.
Last night’s first round broke that streak. No Miami Hurricane. No Florida Gator. No Florida State Seminole. Not even a player from the myriad of directional schools that have popped up in the state since Bobby Bowden, Charlie Pell and Howard Schnellenberger prowled the sidelines in plaid slacks and white shoes.
Through many of those years, Florida schools dominated the first round. Call it a quirk of history if you want, but it’s a clear indication of how far the three major players in the state have dropped off in recent years.
This blog touched on the Florida Gators status yesterday. Click here if you missed it. The state’s ACC schools—Florida State and Miami—have taken different paths to mediocrity over the last decade or so, but the decline is evident on the field and it’s evident in the draft, too.