The NFL Draft is the biggest event of the off season.
For the 256 players drafted it will be a chance to live out their dream. Getting drafted into the NFL and hearing your named called seems the pinnacle of every little fantasy.
The day for many will be incredibly stressful. Even though most of the players anticipate being drafted, there is still an uneasy certainty of when their name will be called.
At the top of the draft it seems like each pick is lasting a lifetime, but once the picks begin to move into their “Projected Zone” its a different story. My story reads:
April 29th was a big day, but it was a day I wanted to spend with my family and friends. I wasn’t offered attend the draft in New York, but I wouldn’t have attended anyway. Very few realize the limited number of ticket each player gets to the draft event and even fewer are able to sit in the green room. The NFL covers very little of the cost of travel and lodging, so how are you supposed to celebrate a dream coming true if the people who helped along the way can’t even be there with you?
Rob and Susie’s house was going to do just fine. There family, friends, teammates, coaches and neighbors all gathers the celebrate the day. Regardless of when or where I was drafted it was going to be a great day. It’s much easier said then done. As the teams who were interested in me began to creep to the podium, my nerves began to heighten.
I didn’t think I would be nervous at all (partially because I was confident in my draft stock and partially because of the number of beers consumed), but after the top 10 it was all over my face.
Over 100 people where at my parents to celebrate the day and trying to stay poised during the process was getting tough. As the Browns passed, then the Dolphins, the Dallas Cowboys were next in the line of teams who were very interested.
At pick #18 my phone rang, it was Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells. Elation was everywhere and as I walked to the patio to gain some quiet, I watched the room explode as my name was called by Paul Tagliabue.
The party was on.
The rest of evening was filled with the consumption of Coors Light and toasts by all. The party went late into the night, until the point my mother was starting to ask people to leave. It was good clean fun until about 9:30. At that point many of my friends, who had been drinking since 11:30 we getting riled up. The night crescendoed when a life long friend tried to fight our old Assistant Principle, who was also my neighbor. It was a great story and one that we tell often.
But every draft story isn’t this pleasant. After watching Aaron Rodgers sit in the green room and watch the draft pass him by, I can only imagine the terrible feeling he felt. Trying to stay calm and not show is disappointment and devastation. Aaron was able to have the last laugh by becoming the best QB in the game, but every story doesn’t always have a happy ending.
Dreams will be made this weekend, but all draft days are not created equal.