The Draft is NFL’s Version of Reality TV

So, here we are. Sitting idly as the NFL season slowly dissolves before our very eyes. Yet that hasn’t stopped the constant draft analysis and speculation. It’s almost sad in a way. We continue to move forward as if this whole lockout thingy is just a minor setback. As if it is a given all of this turmoil will resolve itself in a timely and convenient manner.

Hey, if so, great! But my gut tells me we’re going to be crossing games off the schedule before being subjected to out-of-shape athletes competing in an abbreviated season.

Again, this is just a hunch. One I hope is wrong.

Amid all the absurdity was this week’s controversy surrounding the supposed request of potential draftees not to attend the festivities in New York.

How laughable is this?

Without much else to discuss many took offense that the dissolved union would make such a request.

Let’s look at the facts here.

For one, there are seven rounds in the NFL draft and 32 teams. Do the math and you’ll see that well over 200 young men will have their name called over the course of the three plus days of drafting.

Yet somehow we’re supposed to feel as if 15 of these men will be cheated out of the opportunity of shaking the hand of Commissioner Goodell. Ask Tom Brady, a 6th round pick, if he felt cheated? His union didn’t ask him to refrain from attending the draft. He was flat out told he wasn’t a good enough prospect to get an invite.

On the other hand you have the likes of JaMarcus Russell. His lone career highlight was being the first name called in the draft. So, in some sense, I guess his family would feel for him if he were denied this opportunity. After all, it was one of the lone instances in which Raider Nation cheered for the lazy millionaire.

What makes this whole bit of “controversy” so hysterical is that this is not at all about the prospects and their “once in a lifetime” opportunity being denied. This is all about the NFL not wanting to see its ratings slip.

That is all.

Commissioner Goodell and his cohorts could care less about greeting these young men as they take their first professional steps. All they care about is being able to have compelling television and to find ways to fill air time now that the draft has become a primetime spectacle.

Simply put, the draft is the NFL’s highest rated reality show. And what is a reality show without a cast?

Five years from now over half of those men who shook Goodell’s hand will be either out of the league or on their way out. Most of the top picks in the NFL go bust instead of boom.

Even more laughable is that we’re still talking about this draft as if it is business as usual.

Answer me this: What difference does it make if a player attends the draft if he can’t even interact with his new team the next day? Why is this such a special moment if there is a chance we could go an entire year without football?

Imagine the absurdity if the entire season is canceled and we do this entire song and dance again next year. Can you think of anything more ridiculous than having consecutive drafts without a season?

This is not meant to take sides. I remain neutral refusing to acknowledge any supposed suffering for the players or owners. But all the draft talk is comical.

The NFL draft is nothing more than another piece of programming designed to sell ad space and attract viewers. So please, NFL, don’t sell us on the dashed dreams of future busts. Just call this what it truly is – a reality show with no reality stars.

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Tags: JaMarcus Russell NFL Draft Roger Goodell Tom Brady

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