Monday, April 28, 2008

Nothing Better than a Refreshing Draft

NFL Draft, that is. It’s amazing how much the annual selection of college players by the NFL has grown in popularity. When I get my new calendar in December, I make sure one of the dates I mark down first is when the April draft will be. I get a little more addicted to it each year.

The NFL owners have meetings several times a year where they get together, discuss issues the league is confronting, make decisions about rules improvement, and generally socialize with one another. For NFL fans, the draft is kind of our annual meeting. All the fans from all the teams gather around the TV to watch their favorite team’s grand strategy unfold.

The excitement builds in the week before the draft. I study all the draft guides every evening, trying to predict who my team is going to choose. This involves considerable work, because I don’t follow college football very much, and the names and accomplishments of the players to be drafted are pretty much brand new to me. Regarding my choices, I’m invariably wrong, because I think it’s unfair my team doesn’t get 3 or 4 selections in the first round. Someone should look into this and make appropriate changes to the rules.

The Draft is also a well of endless hope. The new players on our team will of course be much better than the players we have there now. These new players have never fumbled, never thrown an interception, never missed an assignment or blow a coverage. There’s almost a feeling of euphoria that comes over us, as though fans believe if their team’s General Manager is enough of a genius in the Draft this year, their pathetic 4-12 team could vault to 12-4, or the mediocre 8-8 team could sprint to the championship game. There is apparently an element of magic to this player picking business.

And it also appears this genius stuff is of a temporary nature, though, because if we look back at who our GM chose the last few years, we quickly can recall what a large percentage of the picks were duds. But this year will be different, for sure.

The NFL Draft also provides us with the adrenaline rush of a game show where the contestants can win millions of dollars. The reality is that it’s ludicrous to hand a fortune to a rookie who may be a total bust when he has to face NFL level competition. But it’s also satisfying, and uniquely American. We root for our fellow citizens to succeed and get windfalls they don’t deserve.

Not as much as we root for ourselves to get windfalls we don’t deserve, of course. But we root, nonetheless.

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