As much as we said we were going to avoid the NFL Draft, we found ourselves on a lazy Saturday morning tuning in and getting hooked. In its way, its got that same addictive quality as a good reality show-- it's totally mindless yet totally absorbing. And like your good reality show, there's all the suspense going on once you figure out all the various storylines, especially with this year as it early on became "What About Matt?"
What makes the draft so compelling is because in a way, the draftee's entire NFL career is being determined at that very moment they get picked. It's a little existential drama being played out in real-time. Get drafted by the right team with the right system? Hello Pro Bowls and Superbowls. Get drafted by a bad team with a horrible system? Better hope you have a good financial advisor as your career could be over sooner than later. In a way, the player vs. the team is the NFL's nature vs. nurture argument. Is it the player who is good or is it the system? Would Joe Montana be Joe Montana if he played for the Cardinals? Or any other team that didn't have Bill Walsh running things? Just look at Steve Young-- with the Bucs he was just plain horrible, but then again the Bucs were just plain horrible. It was only because he was traded to the 49ers and put in the hands of some of the smartest, most competent football types that he became an NFL Hall of Famer.
And don't think for one moment the players didn't realize that too, which is why we got into watching people's reactions. Oh, they've all had enough media training and experience to say the "right thing" but sometimes their faces would betray different emotion. Like Reggie Bush. Bush didn't look all that happy when he was drafted 2nd and by the Saints. Yeah, he's about to make some big money, but he's gotta be thinking that he's just been drafted by a historically doomed franchise playing in a newly doomed city that plays in a stadium that's being rebuilt because it was trashed when hundreds of stranded Katrina survivors used it as shelter. Sure doesn't sound as much fun as playing in, say Houston or pretty much anywhere else. And you can't tell us that Leinart wasn't saying every prayer he could possibly think of in hopes he'd get drafted by the Jets, only to eventually be drafted by the Cardinals. He was that close to being able to move up from from chasing LA co-eds to New York models with Nick Lachey and now he's stuck chasing whatever they have in Arizona, playing QB for maybe possibly the worst franchise in sports and in a cartoonish looking uniform that gives nobody any sense of dignity. How bummed was he?