Are you ready for some football… drafting???

Rock Island sure is, the city that rocks is hosting the sixth round picks in this year’s NFL draft and having a hometown event for the whole family in conjunction with the kickoff.

The entire community is invited to join in celebration on April 27th at the Austin E. Knowlton Athletic Complex at Augustana College.

Gates Open: 12:00 pm

Family Fun Zone:  Bounce houses, Games, & Goodie Bags

Youth Football Skills Clinic: 12:30 PM (Sign Up for Skills Clinic)
(Pre-Registration Required)

Vintage Football Game:  Rock Island Independents vs. St. Paul Ideals – 2:00 pm

*Be there by 2:00 pm to be a part of this historic occasion!

  • National Anthem performed by Lissie before the game
  • ROCKIN Music
  • Food Concessions
  • Beer by Bent River Brewing Company
  • Commemorative T-shirts for sale

Nearly 100 years after the National Football League was born in Canton, Ohio, the NFL is celebrating the 13 communities, including Rock Island, that were home to the 14 teams of its inaugural season. The initiative is part of ‘NFL100,’ a year-long commemoration of its centennial season bringing together generations of football fans, players, communities and all 32 clubs for a unique line-up of programming and activities.

During the 2019 NFL Draft, selections from Rock Island and 7 of the league’s “Original Towns” outside of the 32 current NFL markets will be made live in the telecast. Our hometown celebration will showcase Rock Island’s history alongside fans and elected officials.

“There’s no better way to bring the League’s hundred years of history full circle than to partner with these communities and recognize their important place in history as part of the NFL’s centennial celebration,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Visit for more on how the NFL is celebrating its 100th season.

Mayor Mike Thoms says, “We could not be more excited about the NFL Draft coming to Rock Island. There’s been a lot of hard work put in to get recognized, and the NFL honoring us with a draft pick for their 100th Anniversary confirms Rock Island’s status in the history of professional football. We want the ENTIRE Quad Cities to join us on April 27th…it’s going to be a FANTASTIC time!”

The gates will open at noon on April 27, 2019 and there will be a Family Fun Zone featuring bounce houses, carnival games, prizes and goodie bags for the first 150 children. A Youth Skills Clinic, presented by Xtream, for girls and boys in 1st -6th grade will begin at 12:30 pm (check in at 12:00 pm). This one hour clinic will be led by Rock Island High School, Alleman High School, and Augustana College football teams and will include on-the-field skills, drills, and fun for all skill levels. Preregistration is required for this free clinic with limited spaces. Register (Sign Up for Skills Clinic) before April 12th to guarantee a t-shirt. A DJ will be playing music and food and beverage concessions will be available for purchase from Augustana College and Bent River Brewing Company. At 2:00 pm there will be a re-creation of the game that took place in September of 1920. The Vintage Football Game, presented by Ericksen Chevrolet, featuring the Rock Island Independents vs. the St. Paul Ideals will have historical uniforms and game rules. The NFL will be announcing a 6th round pick from Rock Island between 2:00 pm and 4:30 pm. Event activities will break during this time so the pick can be announced live. T-shirts will be available for purchase to commemorate this event.

Over the past three years the Rock Island Parks & Recreation Department has worked tirelessly with the community, Friends of Douglas Park, the Vintage Football Group, the City and many others to refurbish the historic park. The end goal is to protect history and provide a community park for community activities and engagement.  A lot of progress has been made at the park, and the focus will remain on fundraising to complete the project.

To support Friends of Douglas Park in rejuvenating and maintaining the vitality of Douglas Park as a local, state and national historical legacy and destination, as well as a safe, well-known and proud location for a variety of neighborhood, community and regional activities you can help in many ways including joining the Friends with a $20.00 annual membership, donating your time by volunteering for work day projects or fundraising events, or purchasing merchandise for sale. Contact FODP at to get involved.

Thank you to the following agencies for helping make this community event possible: Augustana College, Eriksen Chevrolet (presenting the Vintage Football Game), Xtream (presenting the Youth Skills Clinic), City of Rock Island, and Rock Island Parks and Recreation.

For more event information call Rock Island Parks and Recreation at (309) 732-7275. For inclement weather on event day, please contact (309) 732-RAIN.


Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.