Normally the NFL Draft, especially the first round, has much in common with "Dancing With the Stars" and is right down there on my list of must-watch TV right next to a test pattern.
Just like "Stars," it’s barely interesting TV and not really much else. ESPN treats it like the moon landing with more people on camera than you can keep track of and a dizzying array of young men who are destined to lead their new team nowhere.
But this year the draft could not have come at a better time for the Steeler Nation and the poor souls who cover it. No, getting Maurkice Pouncey isn't the real story here. The lack of the name of a certain QB in a headline is.
Much of Steeler Nation woke up disappointed this morning that the Rooneys had not thrown their troubled QB overboard for a draft pick or two and washed their hands of the entire matter. A subset of that same group was holding prayer services that the Steelers would do the "right thing" and draft Tim Tebow. Fortunately for all concerned (including Tebow) the Steelers did the right thing and passed on all of the above.
The best part about this year's NFL draft for Steeler fans isn't that their club is likely to restock its defense with some younger blood and retool at least part of its offensive line. The best part of this year's draft is that it's two days too long which is just enough time to get everyone to calm down.
The talk show airwaves around these parts have reached Dr. Phil intervention-level of dysfunction in the last 48 hours, and not even the brilliance of Sidney Crosby or the horrors of Pirate pitching could distract the seething mob. Caller after caller fairly screaming that Ben Roethlisberger is just this side of the devil himself and that the Steelers should take drastic and self-destructive action before hanging up the phone, and not a second later.
Fortunately, the Steelers stayed the course and took the giant center from Florida that they have openly coveted and kept their damaged franchise quarterback all in the same motion.
Even more fortunately, it now appears that national reports the Steelers were shopping Roethlisberger around the NFL earlier this week could not have been more wrong. The club listened to offers from other teams hoping to steal Roethlisberger at a bargain price but never seriously contemplated making a move. The club was determined to stay the course despite the shrill noises coming from its fan base.
The Steelers seem intent on staying the course through days two and three of this overblown event, and that is even better news. This is a team that has built dynasties in the mid-to-later rounds of the draft and will spend its time wisely drafting guys you probably haven't heard of who could be the missing piece that helps put fingerprints all over the Lombardi Trophy for a seventh time.
The second and third days of the draft will also continue to drive Roethlisberger farther and farther out of the headlines and give time for this vocal storm to blow itself out. Yes, it will gather strength again and make landfall in Latrobe in July, but until then the debate will begin over taking linebackers and defensive backs, not legal proceedings.
So thanks to the NFL for an overly long, overly drawn out 2010 draft. The distraction is a blessing.