Today marks one month until the most anticipated event hits your TV for an entire weekend.
Dreams are dashed, feelings are hurt, money is thrown around and fantasies are conjured. Chris Berman also unleashes a 96 hour hard-on.
That’s right, I’m talking about the NFL Draft. With the conclusion of the Draft on the 24th of April, the little groundhog we call Mel Kiper Jr will crawl back into his little hole, not to be heard from again until midway through the 2010 college football season. Yes, Kiper’s title on the airwaves is ESPN NFL Draft Analyst- the fantasy of many a football fan across the nation. It ranks right up there with Joe Lunardi, who makes the big bucks as a “Bracketologist” (NCAA tournament predictor) and Carrot Top, who makes money not being funny.
Anyway, I love Mel Kiper Jr. As annoying as he is, taking unimaginable amounts of time on the daily Sportscenter with his sparring partner/closet lover Todd McShay detailing their “Big Board” for each position, it takes sheer skill to do what he does. Everyone can predict who goes top 1,2 or 3 (Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State/Deion Sanders University) but Mel has a list that goes the whole draft.
No creative metaphor came to my head, but Kiper has transformed the draft from something only a few people cared about to a national phenomenon. Now, I’m more a fan of the NBA Draft due to its length and the fact that I happen to be a bigger basketball fan, but ESPN/Sports Illustrated/95% of sports blogs are not devoting pages and pages and pages to coverage of the NBA Draft. Might it be because of the amount of foreign players in the NBA draft that American fans do not end up watching nightly on ESPN? (whereas many of the first and second rounders in the NFL can be seen weekly on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, Fox Sports, CBS, Versus, and if you happen to play for Notre Dame, NBC)
Or might it be because of the guy who looks like your average Mathletes star, or a member of the 1980s Jersey Shore, with his extensive knowledge and accuracy (when quarterback Matt Stafford was a senior at Highland Park High School in 2006, he predicted that Stafford would be a number one pick in the Draft. Sure enough in 2009, Stafford was picked first by the Detroit Lions) of every single skill set of every single potential draftee?
God bless America. Only here can someone earn nationwide fame for being an NFL Draft Analyst. And God bless Mel Kiper Jr., for finding a way to carve a niche into the billion dollar NFL marketplace.