Pop Culture Rant: NFL Draft

By Nick Harley | nh632010@ohiou.edu | @Mick_Marley

Sometimes, usually a few times a year, sports consume public attention. Albeit for a short time, nationally broadcasted sports can take over pop culture for a week, especially in the slow ones we inhabit currently — the weeks before the summer movie season.

If you follow sports, you’ve obviously been aware of the looming NFL Draft that was upon us the past few days. ESPN analysts have been comparing mock drafts and trading possibly scripted quips (sorry, Skip Bayless) for months, almost ignoring the start of the MLB season.

But even if you haven’t been swept up in ESPN’s draft excitement tornado, you’re probably aware of the names RGIII, Andrew Luck and Cleveland’s new buddies Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden. They’ve crept into the news, their names have been trending on Twitter, and their faces are all over Facebook and Yahoo. Maybe this is because the NFL draft is just good, drama-filled television, with a production value that is higher than ever.

Coverage starts at 7:30 with the showcasing of the top prospects, the players invited to be in the audience of the proceedings. This year, when the players are selected they walk down a glamorous red carpet, as photographers are snapping cameras. Then they’re handed a nice fitted cap (which can be a lot of fun to watch some of the players put on).
The hats are the brand new Nike Team Caps, as Nike recently acquired a deal with the NFL for all uniforms, player gear and apparel. The players were also handed a jersey like always, but this year, to heighten the spectacle, for the first time ever the new Nike jerseys will have the player’s names on the back. Now that’s class!

Just like the heartwarming TV shows Undercover Boss or some silly home makeover show, viewers get to watch as young men — or in Weedon’s case, mature adults — receive life-changing deals. These players, some overcoming harrowing circumstances, as Chris Berman surely will yell at you, will be handed big money NFL contracts. The players who are drafted the highest get the biggest bucks, so there are definitely stakes on the line. Those players fortunate enough to go early walk across the stage with the biggest grins, along with the players who will receive new homes in places like Miami and San Diego.

If that’s not gripping enough for you, you can watch as mock draft experts like Mel Kiper Jr. try to remain cool as they watch their prediction boards go up in flames, victim to last minute, seemingly spontaneous trades of picks between teams. It’s pretty enthralling to watch NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell — amongst a chorus of boos, echoing from a mix matched, NFL-fan-littered crowd — announce that Dallas has jumped up eight picks to snag a top prospect.

I can mock the melodrama all I like, but I love the NFL Draft and I, being a Cleveland fan, always find it to be the most exciting night of NFL-brand entertainment all year. Every evening of the draft you can find me glued to the TV as all of the pop culture-sphere hushes and follows right along with me.


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