I’ve used this space before to document my top five hates. For those of you just tuning in, a recap.
4. The Taliban
3. The Yankees
2. (a tie) Rush/The Grateful Dead/James Taylor
1. The University of North Carolina Tar Heels
Dishonorable mentions go to: the Olympics, cold soup, John Boehner’s icky man-tan and the Red Sox.
At this point, I beg your indulgence as I toss another institution into the burning barrel:
the NFL draft.
When did everybody in America become a footballologist?
Casual fans have no business uttering any of the following sentences:
- “He just doesn’t have the closing speed the Lions are looking for.”
- “This kid will be a great fit on second downs for Minnesota.”
- “Buffalo needs to trade up to get more fifth-round picks.”
First of all, do you not have enough sports in your life? In case you haven’t noticed, it’s baseball season. Spring time!
And don’t look now, but the NBA and NHL playoffs just started. Two more months and they’re over. Savor the moments, people.
And while, sure, we’re all football fans, how many of us are serious college football fans? Like, guys who watch all the teams? Yeah, we’ll follow our alma maters or our hometown teams and even the SEC. But really, there’s so much to know, so much information and so many players that I contend fans – even serious fans – cannot possibly know enough to have any kind of informed opinions about the NFL draft.
I’d like to try an experiment. Let’s gather about 30 college football fans from across the country and empty all the college knowledge out of their heads and into one of those giant orange Gatorade coolers.
Fish around in the cooler and you’ll find 40-yard-dash times of Mizzou receivers. You’ll find some relevant third-down stats of Pac 10 teams. You’ll find the combined weight of the Florida State offensive line. Maybe even some nuggets on schools like Hofstra and Bucknell and Prairie View A&M.
With the brain contents of those 30 fans maybe — maybe -- you might equal the obsessive football smarts of the deputy assistant football operations intern for the Rams.
When you’re in seat 23E, do you try to fly the plane?
Just admit it. Say it with me: I don’t know. I have no business calling talk shows and discussing my “draft board.”
The first round is Thursday night. In prime time! Then two more rounds Friday evening. The draft used to be filler for ESPN on Saturday mornings. They’d dust off the football nerds nobody’d seen since the Peach Bowl and prop ‘em at a desk for seven hours.
And when your team’s training camp started, THEN you’d start thinking maybe the rookie can have an impact.
ESPN.com has some kind of contest around the draft. The copy reads “think you have what it takes to stump Mel Kiper when it comes to the NFL draft?” OK, stop right there. The answer’s no. No, I don’t have what it takes. And neither do you.
Go outside. Get some air. Play some Wiffleball. Leave the draft to the experts.
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