You know what’s crazy? I’ll tell you what’s crazy.
The NFL draft.
It’s Dancing with the Stars for Men.
7 rounds. 3 days. 253 picks. It’s a marathon and a sprint!
To some it is salvation. To others it is a televised yawn!
To some it is a sports vacation. To others it is nonsensical blather that fills every screen of the bar on a Saturday night.
To the NFL junkie, this is an IV full of much needed life. 40 times and football IQ are the topics that give us reason to live. The Draft is a sweaty jock strap filled with hope of a season that might be. It’s a bizarre fashion show of lime green suits worn by 20 year old behemoths. The draft is a swirling dervish of debauchery where the English language is decimated by gigantic men who reportedly took college classes. In short it’s what heaven would look like if it were sponsored by GNC.
To the average fan, or God forbid the part time observer, the draft is a visualized lobotomy. It’s talking heads spewing nonsensical nursery rhymes with flashy graphics and video of obscure players who are no more recognizable than members of the North Korean parliament. It’s Mel’s best available quagmire of irrelevant information. It’s John Gruden’s tight jawed analysis and Suzy Kolber staring up at another gigantic baby man who thanks his momma and Jesus.
The Draft to men is what Dancing with the stars is to women. It’s a show that touches you at the primitive level. In short, the draft is a glass of wine and a shirtless Russian named Max dancing a rumba, only more savage and discernibly less gay.
It all begins Thursday night with a NFL Draft spectacular celebration of all things grid iron.
Round 1 of the draft is flashy like the 1st time Apollo Creed fought Rocky.
It’s the star spangled banner dripping with patriotism and fervent shouts of Fly High Eagles. It’s an a Capella rendition of the national anthem that even brings tears to the eyes of the brain dead carcass that has assembled in the massive pavilion of the Philadelphia art museum.
Day 1 is the commissioner walking on stage in front of 10’s of thousands and getting booed by Philly Fans like he’s Santa Claus giving away salvation army toys.
Round 1 is obnoxious, over weight humans, who wouldn’t know a cross fit schedule if it was painted on the visor of their New York Jets hats. They raise their fists and slurp their Bud and howl and growl and prowl wearing throwing back jerseys of relevance unknown.
The NFL draft is an LSD hallucination for a football starved populous that has had little to think about since the Falcons gave away the super bowl and Tom Brady’s winning jersey headed south of the border under the arm of a Mexican journalist spewing fake news.
Welcome to the Draft everyone. It’s the equivalent of Dancing with the Stars for Men. It has everything a man could want, minus Disney characters wearing thongs and sequins
The spectacle begins with a blimp shot flying over the city of brotherly love. It reveals a landscape dotted with hard core fans wearing neon colored jerseys representing all 32 flavors of fanaticism.
To many, the draft is a lifeline of hope. It’s a volley ball named Wilson tied to a raft driven by a hirsute Tom Hanks.
In a time basketball and hockey playoffs that drone on like a CSPAN filibuster, the draft brings excitement to my sporting world. Suddenly, I can imagine what a defensive end named Taco can do for my boys. Why did the Bears drop one spot to draft a quarterback that has played 13 games in college? Should that team have moved up to draft a rapist?
Only time will tell.
Baseball is just beginning, Oh God Spare Me Now! In a sports season of 162 grinding games, where every pitch is more laborious than watching leaves fall from the trees, The NFL draft is a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.
I may not watch a full hockey game this playoff season, but I am telling my DVR to tape the draft.
I watch ESPN sweep into this big show menagerie accentuated by rock and roll bands in the park, and NFL fans storming the City of Brotherly Love.
The draft is new millionaires donning hats of cities they have never been to while Neanderthal fans scream their fight songs and voice their opinion as each man child is introduced to the world.
If you love the draft, this is a cold beer on a hot summer afternoon. If you don’t understand the draft, it’s wall paper graphics of forty times and bench press data that make as little sense as Chinese math.
Thursday is day one of the draft. It is names you may know.
But Friday and Saturday is rounds 2-7. It’s football blather. It’s kids from obscure schools and conferences you probably have never heard of. Rounds 2-7 is background noise. It’s a neon sign short circuiting on a flea bag motel. These rounds are obscure, like the witness protection program of sports.
And though it all, Mel Kiper’s hair still looks perfect.
As I put the draft on for a 3rd straight day, I get a look reserved for the dog who has pissed the rug.
“Is this still on?” she asks, her eyes rolling back in her head.
“Wasn’t this on yesterday? And the day before?”
Her question is Columbo-like, piercing and probing, making me want to confess to the crime.
“Denver drafted a man holding a baby like it was a scene from the Lion King,” I say, pulling the remote closer to me so there is no chance this visual lobotomy can be deleted. “This offensive tackle will help protect your quarterback this year.”
The room is silent except for the chimes announcing another pick is in.
She stares at me with a blank gaze, as if I’m newspaper in the bottom of a parrot cage.
She gets up and leaves the room.
“Don’t you want to watch round 5?” I yell. “Tom Brady was the 199th pick and we all know how that turned out.”
I hear her feet clomping down the stairs.
The 2017 draft began with Cleveland taking DE Myles Garrett from Texas A&M. It ends with the Broncos taking Mr. Irrelevant, Chad Kelly, QB from Ole Miss.
And as boisterously as it began, it is over. It is nothing but overflowing garbage cans and discarded beer cups on a worn down lawn.
The sporting respite that is the 2017 draft is over.
Monday Night I will sit on the couch, curl up with a warm glass of cocoa and wonder about the sexuality of a man wearing a bright pink leotard. For me, round 2-7 of the draft is the equivalent of the 2nd hour of DWTS. It’s shirtless Sambas and salacious Salsas and painful packages of grown men crying because they can’t pirouette like a 90 pound ballerina. I willwatch Bruno stand and shout and lust after whatever man is sweating and heaving before him. But deep down inside, I will be wondering How a massive Michigan DE named Taco will help the stars get to the superbowl.