April 27, 2011
NFL Draft: Bitter or Sweet?
There is nothing in sports quite like the NFL Draft. I'm still amazed that someone thought of televising a group of middle-aged men sitting around picking college players for their respective professional teams. At its core, it sounds incredibly boring. But thanks to all the mock drafts and time spent watching these players on Saturdays, it became intriguing . . . so intriguing that the NFL restructured the draft so that the first round now has its own televised evening.
Since the NFL lockout began, it has been shown that fans don't want to discuss or hear about football. Radio uses a system called PPM (Portable People Meters), which gives stations the ability to tell when listeners tune into their station and subsequently when they tune out. Sports-talk radio program directors have recently discovered that listeners have been turning off their station when football comes up. Rightly and understandably so.
I, too have no interest in discussing or listening to lockout talk. But we can either be bitter about a draft including players that we may not see this season or enjoy one of the more unpredictable drafts in recent memory. At least for a few days, let's feel like come September, it will be business as usual. Personally, I hope my team can land some players that will help whenever the League resumes.
Lets be honest with ourselves, we are a society that is addicted to the NFL. So what's the point in being sour tomorrow night? As frustrated as we are with both the millionaire players and billionaire owners, it behooves us, at least for this weekend, to act like the NFL is guaranteed to be in full swing come the fall. The young men walking on stage have nothing to do with what is going on between owners and players. We are getting a look at a part of our team's future. A look at fresh faces who represent hope, change (boy do those two words together make me cringe) and innocence. Feel free to be frustrated each time you see Roger Goodell, an owner, or a current player on TV. But, the kids walking up there are as clueless as we are as to what's going on behind closed doors. They didn't cause this lockout.
The reality is the NFL will be back eventually. For us Jet or Giant fans there are improvements to be made. The Giants settle in with the 19th pick and may quite possibly use it to get younger on the offensive line. Gabe Carimi (OT, Wisconsin), Mike Pouncey (G/C, Florida), and Anthony Costanzo (OT, Boston College) have all been mentioned as potential picks for the G-Men. The Jets hold the 30th pick and may contemplate strengthening their defensive line. Desperate for a massive nose tackle for Rex Ryan's scheme, the Jets have their eye on Phil Taylor (NT, Baylor). Otherwise, many expect them to go in the direction of a pass rusher. Both teams have holes to fill and it will be exciting to see which direction they decide to go in. So let's just pretend for a couple of days, that come early September, we'll be sitting on our couches watching our favorite team do battle on Sunday afternoon. We might as well, right? The alternative isn't very appealing.
Pete is a lifelong Montauk resident and former sports talk host at 88.7FM WEER. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.