April 21, 2010: The Real Christmas Eve
Ah, the time has come. You can feel it in the air. Christmas is here! No we are not in the wintery-weather month of December. Yes we are in the damp, spring month of April. But it is indeed Christmas. Why you may ask? Because tomorrow is the NFL Draft.
This is my favorite time of year, and I'm sure many other men with no lives like me will tend to agree. This weekend event keeps my sanity, at least for now. Other than NHL playoffs, this is the only exciting thing to happen in the sports world until... preseason football. And there may actually be more similarities between the draft and Christmas than you may initially realize.
Every year we get a present, a new toy if you will. This new gift will provide us with excitement, joy, and true happiness for many years to come. Eventually we will get bored and tired with it, but that is expected with almost anything. So we have to make sure we ask old Saint Nick for the right present to be placed under the tree.
That is why our lists are made, checked twice, and maybe even checked a million more times. General Managers and scouts across the league have spent countless hours preparing their best evaluations for these 20-year-old players, in hopes for them to become the next Peyton Manning's and Ray Lewis' of the league. Just like every year, we look through Best Buy catalogs and walk through Sears hardware stores, looking for that gem of an item.
Now it comes time for your special someone to buy it for you. You want it to be somewhat of a surprise, but you secretly want the exact present, or you will be halfway disappointed. The GM's aren't just disappointing one person however. If the wrong selection is made, an entire organization, community, and nation of fans will be feeling it. Trust me, I am a Jaguars fan (Byron Leftwich, Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, Reggie Nelson, Derrick Harvey).
The types of players that are selected bring direct comparisons to the things us common folk get every Christmas. Some things we get are sexy and exciting, whereas some are dull, boring, yet an every-day necessity that we wouldn't be happy if it wasn't there.
The quarterbacks, receivers, runningbacks, and secondary players are the sexy picks. They are the gifts that everyone wants on Christmas day. We want the cars, the grilling sets, the 80 inch plasma televisions, but not all of them are always high quality. At first glance, they are the perfect gift, yet, over time, they fade away, break down, and we forget about them.
I would compare offensive and defensive linemen to a pack of socks. Nobody gets excited after wasting ten seconds of our lives ripping wrapping paper off of cotton that keeps our feet warm and comfortable. But if I didn't get that pack of socks every year, I would be distraught. If you neglect your socks, they will get old and torn apart, just ask the Redskins.
And then there are the Sega Dreamcasts (I'm still a fan), the Tickle Me Elmo's, and the Beanie Babies. The can't miss, sure-fire toys that every kid has ever dreamed of having. Then there are the NFL versions of Elmo: Jamarcus Russell, Joey Harrington, Charles Rogers, Glen Dorsey, Ryan Leaf, and Darren McFadden just to name a few. Everybody wanted them then, but now nobody wants them cluttering their garage.
So all NFL fans, unite and rejoice! The time has come for the unofficial Christmas day of the NFL. Make sure you leave milk and cookies under the tree for Santa, say your annual prayer, and hope for the best. For in a little over 24 hours, the St. Louis Rams are on the clock.
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