The day after the Super Bowl, discussions about the NFL on television and radio turn immediately to the draft. And the coverage goes on…and on…and on…In fact, the NFL draft coverage was summed up beautifully by Phil Connors on a bleak February day: “It’s gonna be cold. It’s gonna be gray. And it’s gonna last you the rest of your life.”
The coverage has been going on for so long that I couldn’t believe my ears when I found out the draft was actually this Thursday, which happens to be today. I feel an odd sense of relief and anxiety because, while the whole thing will be over after the short, efficient THREE DAY DRAFT, afterwards I will be left with a sense of longing. That is until they start talking about voluntary camp and Brett Favre tossing the ball around on his high school field.
Another person facing similar feelings of ambivalence is draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. On one hand he has to be elated that the big day is finally here. He’ll be full of energy and vigor when the ESPN crew cuts to him for a quick report on a potential draftee. He’ll react with disgust when one of his top ten players slips into the second round. And at the end of the weekend he’ll climb back into the Kiper Kave to start researching for next year.
On the other hand, draft day has to be the day (or weekend) he dreads most. Kiper has been on television or radio at least once a day for the past three months and, except for a few post-draft analyses on Sunday and Monday, he’ll be done until next February.
So soak it all in, Mel Kiper, Jr. This is your time to shine. And, just like one-hit wonders like Chumbawamba, The Cardigans, and OMC, the absence of your voice and hair helmet for a few months will be a welcome change.