NFL Draft: Does More Pageantry Equal Less Appeal?by Christopher C. Wuensch on Apr. 23, 2010, under Sports
With the first pick in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams select…click.
That sound you heard was me using my thumb to pantomime the turning off my television.
When the NFL draft resumes tonight in prime time, I won’t need the air remote nor the funny face paint and black-and-white striped shirt.
OK, I might wear the shirt.
When it comes to the NFL Draft, the luster is quickly becoming lost on me — this from a guy who’s still de-toxing from post-Super Bowl withdrawal.
The draft is the most over-hyped event this side of the Kentucky Derby.
(Don’t get me wrong, I love the Kentucky Derby — but months of speculation and hoopla to watch an animal run for two minutes?)
Competition between the NFL, its network and ESPN is to blame. The more the corporate suits tinker with the pageantry of the system, the less drama is bestowed on the fans.
This ‘all-access,’ ‘information-now’ era is stripping all theatrics from the draft. The suspense is gone.
The iconic image of Thursday night’s first round should have been the Denver Broncos drafting Tim Tebow with the 25th overall pick. Instead — thanks to the ESPN cameras — we knew the Broncos were taking the University of Florida quarterback a pick before Denver was even on the clock.
Tebow is one of the most-maligned prospects the NFL has ever invited to the draft. Speculation has swirled for years not only whether or not if he’s first-round pick worthy, but if he’s even cut out for the NFL.
Like him or not, seeing the very instant the anxiety drained from his soul upon being drafted would have been, as the MasterCard people say, priceless.
The percentage of these players that will actually make a pro roster is surprisingly small. It’ll be years before we’re able to quantify the impact of those from the draft this weekend.
So the drama is all we have when it comes to the draft.
If you’re anything like me, you tuned out the ‘talking heads’ and their incessant caterwauling weeks ago. What do they really know anyway? Peter King of Sports Illustrated, long regarded among the most hallowed of NFL-insider gurus, correctly mocked seven of the 32 first-round picks.
Say what you will about ESPN, but the NFL Network is no better. My throw-a-shoe at the television moment came as Roger Goodell was strutting across the stage at Radio City Music Hall to announce the 29th overall pick.
Seconds before the NFL Commissioner could clear his throat to announce the New York Jets’ pick, the NFL Network sideline reporter let loose with: “It’s Kyle Wilson.”
That’s not the actions of a swarthy insider pounding the pavement in search of a scoop. That was a guy sticking it in the nation’s face that he’s got access to the stage and is really good at eavesdropping.
He’s the kid at your birthday party who blurts out “I got you Star Wars action figures!” right before you open your present from him.
There are no physical winners tonight. So the drama and raw emotion that spills out of these kids when they realize they’ll get a shot at their dreams is the best part of tuning in.
Give me more suspense, less of ESPN’s Chris Berman grunting and perhaps I’ll put the remote control down before hitting the power switch.
OK, who am I kidding? The wife works tonight, the baby will be asleep and CBS’ Ghost Whisperer is a re-run. I’ll be watching the draft tonight. But I’ll do so with an attitude best left for a crusty, old curmudgeon.
- No Wildcat or Sun Devil players were taken in Thursday’s first round of the NFL Draft.
- Of the 32 players selected, only two played for PAC-10 schools. School that is. Tyson Alualu (10th overall, Jacksonville Jaguars) and Jahvid Best (30th Detroit Lions) both played their collegiate ball at California.
- Not surprisingly, the states of Texas and Florida each saw five of their former high school athletes drafted. The Grand Canyon State, conversely, had zero kids selected in the first round.
- The Arizona Cardinals used the 26th overall pick to select University of Tennessee nose tackle Dan Williams.