For the past decade, I have devoted one Saturday at the end of April to sitting on my couch and watching ESPN for upwards of 11 consecutive hours. Over the years only my stomach or bladder could induce me to move from my appointed post. I was a lone soldier among an army of men across the country dedicated to the intrigue, drama and over-the-top analysis of the NFL Draft. I love my one April day of pure nothingness. I usually don't even put pants on until well after 4 p.m. It is a perfect sports-centric day. It is nothing short of beautiful.
Now NFL commissioner Roger Goodell thinks he can just take all of that away from me.
This year, for the first time the NFL Draft will commence tonight at Radio City Music Hall. The First Round will be completed tonight, the second and third rounds will be completed tomorrow night before the final four rounds begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 24.
I realize the NFL wanted to take advantage of the first round's popularity by putting it in prime time on a Thursday night, but did Goodell and co. have to ruin my fun just to grab a few extra ratings points?
While I'm incredibly interested to see if the St. Louis Rams do indeed select Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford with the No. 1 overall pick, I sincerely hope the rest of America doesn't tune away from whatever they're watching on April 22. The real drama of the 2010 draft will unfold at the No. 2 overall pick, held by the hapless Detroit Lions. They will likely choose between defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska) and Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma). By the time that pick rolls around most of America will likely be tuning in to prime time shows like CBS's Survivor or NBC's Community.
The casual observer can just follow the proceedings online -- without all the ridiculous analysis from Mel Kiper Jr. or Todd McShay (ESPN's resident draft experts) -- and still catch all their usual weekly programming. Besides, for non-sports fans spending hours staring at Kiper's hair -- which has it's own, otherworldly life force -- or watching McShay's drab, robotic commentary can be a soul-crushing exercise. I mean, I love it, but I'm also a complete loser when it comes to sports broadcasts of any type.
Do the NFL's head honchos really think they can make average people tune in when there is plenty of other programming available? That's about as shrewd as NBC executives believing that shifting Jay Leno to prime time would be a solid move. We all know how well that one worked out.
So this is my plea to the NFL to allow me to have my one Saturday in April back. All I want is one day where I can watch sports for 11 hours straight with no pants on. Is that really asking too much?