Oh NFL what have you done?! For the past 10 years, my husband and I have celebrated the NFL draft the way other people celebrate Easter: we make plans for a special meal and no disturbances for the entire weekend! OK, so maybe that’s more like the way other people celebrate Valentine’s Day, but this has been one of those weekends we look forward to all year long. We follow our college teams throughout the fall, and he gives me updates on my players off-season. I might get the names confused, but Bill keeps me in line as we excitedly wait for one of “our boys” to be called up.
I know they are really nothing so much as strangers to me (most of the time), and maybe it’s those years of helping App State football players buy lingerie for their girlfriends that really cinched the deal, but I love watching those young faces as the reach the culmination of their life’s dream. Sure some of them harbor even greater dreams of the winning Superbowl touchdown and other such accolades, but just reaching the NFL is for a football player, what “American Idol” is for vocal musicians. Sometimes it’s getting to the high dive that’s the real goal; anything that happens after you jump is just bonus. That’s pretty much what I see in the faces of those boys.
Until this year.
Now I can completely understand why the NFL would want to break up the draft a bit. Those first three rounds are not just intense, they seem to last forever! You want the excitement of a “Reality Show”? Watch the NFL draft. Not only are the decisions made during this show an impact on the rest of those kids’ lives, but some teams draw out their time with the purpose of suspense. It was beginning to feel like the draft was lasting longer and longer. By the time we got to the third round, our attention was wondering. So now they have broken up the draft to take place on several days, basically one round at a time.
Great. We won’t be watching it. Whereas we are eager to separate a weekend from the rest of reality, we cannot set aside several days, even at a few hours a day. By the end of a “normal” day, our minds are to frazzled to really care about much else. We like to slip something into the DVD player that we don’t really have to think about as we decompress from the world. Our minds are too full of personal reality to consider anyone else’s reality, nor do we want to television to dictate our time. We don’t watch cereal TV for this reason, and only a few sporting events have the power to demand our undivided attention at the time designated. Now instead of scheduling a single weekend of football fun, we are asked to spread our excitement out over several days.
I guess the NFL has forgotten how few people pick up the draft again after that first day. Maybe they think it’s because we’re usually so far into the draft that people don’t get as excited. Do they really think breaking up the program will invite more viewers? I guess we shall see.