April 10, 2009

NFL Expands Draft Day Green Room, But Why?

ESPN learned today that the NFL has invited at least ten people to be in the "Green Room" for the draft on April 26th (and 27th, but these guys hope not to see that day). To me, it begs the question: is the NFL trying to increase the likelihood of a Brady Quinn near tears waiting for his name to be called, or does the NFL recognize that Detroit might pick the second string punter from Towson University first overall?

ahblahblahblah Draft Day, not this one, should have been Brady's best.

More likely that not, the league wants another Brady Quinn sweating it out on that Saturday. The NFL, like it or not, has always been in the ratings business. Without that fact, there wouldn't be much momentum to the Vegas and "America's Team" conspiracy theories out there. Since they entered the world of cable television, the presumption against the league as the protector of the game has gotten stronger. This is especially true now that the league covers the draft.

There is plenty of drama in the draft. Trades make it impossible to know exactly when your team is going to pick. Guys rise and fall, meaning millions of dollars with each swing. Men whose entire careers revolve around assigning an NFL value to college talent are on the hook in a measurable way. When a player is taken or not taken near the expert's assigned value, a shitstorm of justification and villification takes place.

But that's not enough.

The NFL Network knows that human drama trumps sports. That's why we get 47 vignettes about the tough childhood of the Super Bowl contenders. They know how to create more drama, and the easiest way is to throw more bodies into the equation. I am sure they have ten emotional packages prepared about each kid who might well find himself actually hoping, desperately, to be picked by the Raiders or Chiefs or Lions or, God forbid, Redskins.

It's schadenfruede at its best, and I'll be watching.