This year’s National Football League Draft returns to its Philly roots on April 27-29, 2017. The Philadelphia region is well known for its athletic pride and history—not to mention its central role in the founding of the nation, buzzed-about food scene, vibrant neighborhoods, rich arts and culture scene, parks galore and more. ;
Here are 10 things people might not know about Philadelphia, hosting the NFL Draft for the twelfth time in history:
1. One quarter of the U.S. population lives within a five-hour drive of Philadelphia. Nine NFL teams, including the hometown Philadelphia Eagles, are based within a seven-hour drive of the city. Others are the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills.
2. On February 8, 1936, the first NFL Draft took place at Philadelphia’s Ritz-Carlton. The selection consisted of nine rounds, zero team scouts and no media coverage. Teams took turns picking from the 90 names written on a blackboard. The city has hosted the draft 11 times total, with the last event taking place here in 1961.
3. The country’s oldest, largest track competition coincides with the 2017 draft. The Penn Relays feature 15,000 high school, collegiate and club athletes in 300 events at University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field, the current home of the Penn Quakers football team, former home of the Philadelphia Eagles (1958-1970) and host of the 1960 NFL Championship Game—where the Birds dealt the Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi his only career playoff loss.
4. Philadelphia’s Historic District, home to Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the soon-to-open Museum of the American Revolution (April 19, 2017) and endless more historic and modern attractions, is 32 football fields away from Draft Town.
5. The beloved Rocky statue stands proud at the foot of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Sylvester Stallone’s iconic character first jogged up the museum’s 72 steps 40 years ago. Visitors have been copying him ever since. A bronze imprint of his Chuck Taylor sneakers grace the top of the famed steps.
6. Often compared to Paris’ Champs Elysées, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is home to six museums (Philadelphia Museum of Art, Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building, Rodin Museum, Barnes Foundation, The Franklin Institute and The Academy of Natural Sciences) and steps away from Eastern State Penitentiary. The boulevard has also hosted two popes (1979 and 2015), one Live Eight concert (2005) and four Made in America concerts (the first in 2012).
7. Philadelphia is known as the City of Murals. Founded as an anti-graffiti initiative in the 1980s, Mural Arts Philadelphia has created 3,800 larger-than-life works and is the most influential mural arts organization in the world.
8. That guy atop of City Hall? It’s not Ben Franklin, arguably Philadelphia’s most famous resident. That’s city planner William Penn, holding a deed.
9. Cheesesteaks are available 24/7, but many locals feel that roast pork sandwiches with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe or spinach are worthy of just as much love as Philly’s most iconic sandwich. Top spots include DiNic’s Roast Pork, John’s Roast Pork and Tony Luke’s.
10. The NFL isn’t the only draft in town: Philly was once the beer-brewingest city in the Western Hemisphere. The region now boasts dozens of craft breweries, tons more beer bars and the largest beer week celebration in the country.
VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.
On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.