I was lucky enough to be Bleacher Report’s “Man on the Inside” for the NFL Draft, and the biggest thing I found out was there’s so much more to the Draft than the selection meeting itself.
Now, that probably goes without saying, but even those of you (myself included) that have spent years watching the event on television may have no idea how much of a spectacle the NFL Draft really is.
Whether you find them interesting, bizarre, or something else, the following slides are all about what happens "other" than the picks on draft weekend.
You know those guys you see in the balconies of Radio City Music Hall every year, the ones who vehemently cheer or boo their favorite team’s selections and chant random bizarre things?
Ever wonder if they had anything better to do?
At the draft, they actually do.
During the course of the three days, there were many “other” activities going on inside RCMH.
On Friday night, the gang from those infamous Coors Light press conference commercials were on hand, allowing fans to play Herm Edwards' role in the infamous "You play to win the game!" commercial.
Saturday and Sunday, fans had the chance to have their pictures taken holding up a “No. 1” jersey like Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, and the rest.
There was also a Hall of Fame exhibit and several contests: a Chevy Silverado was given away on Sunday, and those in attendance were able to win numerous, cool pieces of NFL memorabilia in a raffle.
Commissioner Roger Goodell also held a fan forum Q&A on Saturday morning, giving the fans a chance to get the lowdown on any burning questions from the boss himself.
Oh yeah, and your favorite team also picked up a player or 12.
You’d think it’s fairly simple: Teams fly in their reps to make picks, while players sit in the green room, wait for their names to be called, and then endure the media onslaught once they are.
That’s not even the half of it.
All week, there were various events and opportunities throughout the city. On both Tuesday and Wednesday, several current players and draft hopefuls took part in an NFL “Play 60” Youth Football Festival at Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan.
Also on Wednesday, the prospects visited children at Mount Sinai Medical Center, where the young patients were able to interview and interact with them in “The Zone”—a state-of-the-art play center that was funded in part by NFL Hall-of-Famer Troy Aikman, among others.
Friday afternoon, there was a press conference to announce the launch of the Korey Stringer Institute, a new research facility opening at the University of Connecticut that intends to eradicate death from heat stroke in organized sport.
The selections themselves may have been spaced over three days and roughly 48 hours, but the action itself started well before that, and didn’t stop until the end.
Beside the fun in the lobby of Radio City Music Hall, there’s also a lot of other fan-friendly stuff that happens inside the main room itself.
Alan Roach from the NFL Network was interviewing draft picks on Night One, and several special guests showed up to sign autographs and pose for pictures—including current members of the Giants and Jets, the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders, and former Who’s the Boss? and Charmed star Alyssa Milano (who, by the way, is still extremely attractive).
At least for the fans, there’s always something going on, even if a team takes its entire clock.
The secret to sitting there on set for hours and hours to discuss draft goodness?
Okay, so maybe that’s not the true secret, but there were multiple bags of Mickey Ds behind Boomer, TJ, Mel, and the gang all weekend.
Hey, those guys have to eat, too.
And yes, if you were wondering, Mel Kiper gets his hair fixed roughly every other commercial break.
That may seem a bit of a misnomer, but it’s fairly true.
When a selection is made, the PA announcer will say “Team X has selected, Team Y is on the clock,” and the clock resets.
So really, the next team doesn’t go on the clock when the commissioner announces the previous selection.
That nugget of info, of course, means that every other team knows the selection before the world at large, and that’s how trades can be made so quickly.
Okay, for the last slide I guess we can have a little fun.
But yes, the peanut butter cookies that RCMH had in the media catering area were out of this world. They were so good, in fact, that one of the guys next to me in press row made a comment during his site’s live blog wondering if the cookies were going to be better than his team’s draft pick.
The Chiefs picked Eric Berry—sorry cookies.