The NFL Draft weekend is upon us—are you ready?
We’re hours away from the second-biggest football event of the year. This weekend is of interest to rabid homers and bandwagon NFL fans alike.
Free agent signings are one thing, but there’s nothing like getting the chance to peek into the future of the league through the choices our teams make on draft day.
Some of us have spent days preparing for the main event. Some of us left nothing to chance and got to work a month ago.
In case you started a little late, however, here’s your checklist:
1. Check your cable or satellite connection before you go to bed.
You don’t want to wake up on draft day and find out the only thing you can get on your TV is snow. Call your buddies the night before and verify their connections as well, in case a last-minute change of venue is needed.
If you’ve isolated yourself from the rest of humankind through your never-ending draft yammering, then you’d better have an AM/FM radio backup.
2. Double-check the Internet connection in the viewing room.
You’re going to want to log on to Bleacher Report to see just how many articles get posted in between every pick.
3. Make sure your VCR, DVD recorder, or TiVo unit is working.
If you’ve ever tried to find recordings of previous drafts, you know NetFlix and Blockbuster don’t carry them.
So make your own. On the flip side, copyright laws do apply, so forget about making versions for your friends without the expressed, written permission of the NFL.
4. Have a plan for the wife, girlfriend, or significant other to go out shopping for the day.
Answering 20 what’s-going-on questions during a game is a lot different than answering 200 who-is-that questions during the draft. If you’re like me, you need to hear yourself think, and the distraction of a football novice just won’t do.
Fork over your wallet and the car keys, and save yourself some aggravation.
5. Keep the beer chilled, but remember this is a two-day event.
You need to remember to pace yourself.
You can’t pound the brews as fast as you do during a regular-season game, or you’ll be conked out and drooling on your chest halfway through the first round.
I follow a “one chug per pick rule.” If you have friends enjoying the spectacle with you, consider a house rule barring drinking games until the last pick of the day.
6. Snacks and meals are a must.
Most of us have several meals precooked, portioned, packaged, and frozen. I’ve set up my mini-fridge and microwave next to my Barcalounger, so I don’t have to stray too far from my clicker.
If you didn’t get the chance to plan ahead, then a package of Oscar Mayer bologna and a loaf of bread can get you through most of the picks.
7. Have your mock draft and an updated draft-eligible rankings list on hand.
Maybe your team will actually get some of its picks right this year.
8. Get stopwatch or egg timer.
You can’t rely on the televised timer in between picks.
Just think about how many times officials have to reset the clock during the games. Somebody is always goofing up the timekeeping, and draft day is no exception.
9. Clear a path to the bathroom.
If you’ve ever had to do the 100-meter hurdles to the restroom when you needed to go, you know that every stumble and bump along the way is a potential hazardous waste site waiting to happen.
As a rule of thumb, you have a 20-second window after you start the “pee-pee shuffle” before the situation shifts from "must-go" to "outta my way.” Plan accordingly.
10. Have a large quantity of Asprin, Tylenol, Motrin, and Midol close at hand.
As sure as you’re reading this, your team is going to waste a pick, leading you to throw a migraine-inducing fit. Preemptive measures can be taken to prevent this—as long as your team doesn’t mess up too often.
Try not to dwell on the millions in guaranteed money your team will give away to draft day busts. It’s great when your team makes the right choices, but understand that seven out of 10 picks don’t make it into starting rotations.
Remember, draft weekend is all about the dreams of future glory. Enjoy.