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Countdown begins: Detroit hands NFL Draft off to Green Bay

Posted at 5:43 AM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 06:43:16-04

TITLETOWN (NBC 26) — A countdown clock showing the amount of time remaining until the beginning of the 2025 NFL Draft in Green Bay is now displayed inside the Lambeau Field Atrium.

  • The unveiling of the clock marked the end of a ceremonial "handoff" from Detroit to Green Bay, in which a themed football traveled from Michigan to Wisconsin
  • The football traveled across Lake Michigan on the Lake Express before joining a "Pedal to the Draft" bicycle journey north from Milwaukee to Titletown — ending with the bicycle kids joining the trip from Ray Nitschke Field to Lambeau
  • NFL executive Jeff Miller joked at the unveiling ceremony that Green Bay shouldn't have an issue surpassing Detroit's NFL-record 775,000 fans in attendance
  • Miller was mum on the layout of the Draft stage, saying "nothing has been decided yet"
  • Video shows the unveiling of the countdown clock and journey of the themed football

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Less than 345 days until the NFL Draft in Green Bay — we're at Lambeau Field, which was the final stop for a ceremonial football that traveled all the way from Detroit here to Lambeau.

The countdown clock was unveiled Tuesday evening as Detroit handed the ball— and the Draft — off to Green Bay.

"Being on that stage there and looking out at this Atrium today, and seeing the number of people who showed up for the announcement of a countdown clock, makes me plenty confident that there'll be plenty of people out there and Green Bay come next," said Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President of Public Affair and Policy.

The football traveled across Lake Michigan, and then joined a bike convoy traveling north from Milwaukee, to Manitowoc, up the Fox River tRail, and then finally to Nitschke Field. Aaron Popkey from the Packers' front office was on the trip.

"As we looked for this handoff idea from Michigan to Wisconsin, we thought it'd be a fun way to lean into that history and promote the bike-ability of the state at the same time," Popkey said.

Popkey is referring to the history of the bike kids at Packers training camp, dating back to 1958.

One of those kids is Jack Edwards.

"I think having this moment right now is a really good thing for the community," Jack, a third-grader from Little Chute, said. "There are so many people out there."

The significance of the Draft's arrival isn't lost on Jack.

"This is the first time this is ever going to happen, and it might be the last time this is ever going to happen," he said.

The NFL is coming to Green Bay for another site visit before the league decides where to place the draft stage — which Wisconsin native Miller says is still in the works.

"It's a huge event," Miller said. "But Green Bay is used to putting on big events every Sunday in the fall, so its track record is pretty good. And we're all optimistic that it's going to be terrific for our fans."

It's not the first time Detroit has turned the ball over to Green Bay — and I bet it won't be the last. Green Bay takes over, and it's up next.