ESPN managed to make the NFL draft look like the Miss America pageant. Complete with musical interludes, cutesy videos of the players and a woman voice-over before the commercial breaks asking questions about whom the next pick would be. Television.
Sometimes I sit and marvel at the nonsense we subject ourselves to and how much of it winds up on television. I'm free to switch to any of 500 different channels, (and I do) but a few thousand people thought it would be a great idea to sit in Radio City Music Hall and watch ... teams picking players. Honestly, the things that amuse us. And me.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell comes out every ten minutes or so with his three-by-five card with the name of a player and reads it like he's announcing the winner of a Nobel Prize. Of course, for the money ESPN forks out to broadcast this nonsense I suppose it should have its own brand of pomp, complete with Suzy Kolber in a -- gown? Egad.
Maybe next year we can have Suzy dance with the draft picks like on that other TV show. Berman, Gruden and Kiper could be the judges and make snide comments about how the kid will never make it in the NFL if he can't learn to tango. It's the dance of love.
Teams get ten minutes to make a pick. At some point it says on the screen THE PICK IS IN, then we wait about two minutes so that Chris Berman and the other know-it-most's at the desk can pontificate on whom they think the player is going to be. Sometimes the cameras go backstage where the lucky player is sitting at a round table with some hangers-on, talking on a cell phone and crying tears of joy.
It's like their football wedding day - where everything is perfect and they can't wait to get to work for their new team. You've seen it. Crying because they're so happy! Wait a few years when he's a free agent and the team is disrespecting him with a lousy $10 million a year deal. Or worse yet, when he holds out at training camp - this year - because his contract isn't good enough.
The team loves him because, "We didn't think he'd be there at [pick number]." They have to say that, lest they upset the guy that the know-it-most's told us they were going to pick in their mock draft, which rarely looks like the real one, hence the name. The panelists turn to Mel Kiper (the expert) and ask him why this kid went so high (or so low) because Mel had no idea that he was going to be taken where he was taken. Mel seems incredulous, but it's only because he's clueless.
It's all big-time TV now, and it isn't just spread out over a Saturday and Sunday. Now, it's in prime time on Thursday, early evening on Friday and some part of Saturday, so that draft-nicks can isolate themselves from the outdoors for three more days. Interestingly, the TV coverage is rife with ads for beer, chips and sandwiches. Chow down, wide load!
After the pick, the panelists tell us about his glorious bench press statistics. "He benched 225 for 19 reps." That's great, but how does it apply to football? He needs to tackle the quarterback, not tackle him, lift him up and put him down 19 times. Once is plenty.
Meanwhile, people sit for hours watching stuff they could read about the next day. There isn't any storyline or particular drama. It's just a guy in a suit reading the name of another guy in a suit. It fascinates me like a rail crash. I'm appalled but I cannot look away. Although I did manage to see most of the Phillies/Braves game, the Flyers playoff win and "The Office."
I do have my standards.