The countdown to draft weekend is a long and tedious one from the moment your favorite NFL team's season finishes.
For most of us, the season comes crashing to a bitter and disappointing end. While the start of Free Agency and the release of the NFL season schedule are dates to look forward to, it's the draft that is the ultimate start of the new season, and the first gold star day to put on the calendar.
For those fans lucky enough to witness their team win the Super Bowl, the draft is a chance to remind the other 31 how last season ended.
Pittsburgh fans can look forward to plenty of highlights and constant praise for their team.
And for Arizona Cardinals fans, there will be constant kicks in family jewels as they see James Harrison running back that fumble for a touchdown over and over again.
But with the draft comes the hope that springs eternal for all fans. It's the Christmas Day of the NFL season, when every team gets a fresh batch of new toys to play with. The missing ingredients from last year's failure, those who will take them to the Promised Land.
Like Christmas Day, many fans have their traditions for how to celebrate the day. For those out there lacking a Draft Day itinerary I will share my own, and I encourage other fans to share their plans below in the comments.
The first part of a successful draft watching is preparation. I begin by purchasing any draft magazine I can get my hands on, usually in mid-February, and putting it in the place where it will be most likely to get read: next to the toilet.
This research can be done over the three months leading up to the big day, so by the time Draft weekend arrives I will know what players my team might be targeting. Think of it like putting together your Christmas list.
The second part is the setting up of the war room which is kind of like putting up the Christmas Tree or hanging the stockings.
This year I am planning on the following set-up:
The main TV will be tuned to ESPN since the stupid stalemate between NFL Network and my local cable service, Time Warner, rages on.
However the folks at NFL.com will be kind enough to stream their draft coverage live, so I will also be bringing in a computer to show it. NFL Network's coverage is far superior to ESPN's. I much prefer access to team war rooms than interviews with drafted players, but that's just me.
But one computer will not be enough on Draft Saturday. You need a second for research and analysis as the picks start to roll in.
By the time the second round rolls around, the odds of your team selecting someone you've never heard of greatly increase, even if you've been diligent in your research. So you need a free computer to check the stats and reaction.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the food. What would Christmas Day be without the meal?
The draft is six long hours. Sure you can just order out, but for me a lot of the fun about watching football is cooking. Call it an in-home tailgate.
This year I will be serving sloppy joes that I make in the crock pot. It's easy, and the aroma will fill the house as the first picks start to roll in. Nothing like stuffing yourself with a homemade meal as the Raiders make another misguided pick.
All of this will make for the ultimate draft experience. Unfortunately the draft can often be somewhat anti-climactic. You wait all this time, then you're team picks their players and that's it until training camp.
So having lots of distractions and good food are solid ways to make the day a little less tedious. Just like you do on Christmas when you have to deal with unruly relatives and gifts you don't really like.
Cheers to all NFL fans this weekend; the 2009 season is upon us, and we're all back at the bottom of the pile.
Mike Dussault is a Patriots Community Leader and can be reached at PatriotsPropaganda@gmail.com. He also got sucked into Twitter at PatsPropaganda. He plans on blogging and tweeting throughout Draft Weekend but that could be dependent on his alcohol intake.
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