Game Time: If You Want To Hear Richard Justice Getting Fired, Click Here
If you are a celebrator of Christmas, you know what I mean when I say "that Christmas morning feeling" -- the giddy sensation when you wake up on December 25th, knowing that you made it through the 362 day grind since the last Christmas morning and today is the day that you get to open your presents.
There are a handful of "Christmas mornings" on the sporting calendar, and today is one of them. At least for me it is. The NFL Draft for the first time in my lifetime (or at the risk of being corrected by a draft trivia expert, for the first time that I can remember) is in prime time on a weeknight on national (cable) television (ESPN and the NFL Network). The confluence of this enhanced spotlight on Round One of the draft (Rounds 2 and 3 are tomorrow, and Rounds 4-7 are on Saturday) along with the deepest draft in years (many thanks to pending labor doom causing the mass exodus of juniors from college, what with the possibility of a rookie wage scale in 2011 and all) make tonight a marquee event in every sense of the word.
As a sports broadcaster/guy who blogs (I don't think "journalist" is really the right word to describe someone whose go-to moves are Sopranos references and fat jokes about Carlos Lee. I know who I am.), this would be the day where I do what everyone else who thinks they know about the NFL Draft does -- formulate my uninformed, throw "darts at the wall" mock draft board in an attempt to prognosticate what all 32 NFL teams are going to do. Basically, guessing. and make no mistake, that's what 99 percent of the mock drafts out there are -- crazy guesses. I will not subject you to this.
(NOTE: If you are looking for a Draft Report and mock drafts that are not based on crazy guesses but instead EDUCATED guesses based on actual conversations with NFL people and endless hours of watching college game film, may I suggest the View From The Sideline NFL Draft Report, co-authored by my co-hosts of the Z Report Draft Show on 1560 The Game, John Harris and Lance Zierlein. It's free and it's ridiculously good. Also, tune in tonight starting at 6:00 for our NFL Draft coverage on AM 1560, live from Wild Wing Cafe in Katy!)
The ludicrous nature of mock drafts in general is what drove my co-host John Harris and I to create the Seinfeldian Mock Draft, an annual event on our show that takes place the day before the actual NFL Draft, giving all of us a much needed one day break from football draft talk. Actually, we didn't really create it as much as it just happened.
To make a long story short, one day Harris (who puts ungodly amounts of time and effort into being the best all-around football guy in this city on air, bar none) was lamenting how all you have to do is have a blog or website with the words "NFL" and "draft" in the title and that pretty much qualifies you to Joe Q. Fan as a "draft expert." His point was valid -- in this Darwinian world of new media, everyone has a voice and the worst voice is one who has the appearance of knowing what they're talking about when, in fact, they don't.
The frustration somehow led to Harris sarcastically renouncing his football expertise and starting a mock draft of just random shit. I volunteered to pick first and drafted Allison Stokke, internet sensation pole vaulter from Cal (click here, you'll see why). It kind of rolled from there with Harris drafting Tim Tebow, our producer Kyle drafting Chickipedia.com, David Nuno drafting The Sopranos (much to my chagrin, leaving me having to use my next pick on Goodfellas; you know, since I now had to go "best mob epic available" once Nuno trumped me with The Sopranos).
We were basically just clowning around drafting random nouns as a goof, killing time on the radio, but a funny thing happened...the phone lines lit up, the email server exploded, and I was getting texts from friends with their "mock draft picks." Bottom line, Harris' point was kind of validated -- people will draft anything and listen to people draft anything.
By the end of the day, we had 32 picks come in from listeners, from other 1560 personalities, hell even former NBA great Orlando Woolridge called in with a pick (Dick Butkus was his pick; I think O thought it was a real NFL Draft we were doing...and that it was 1965.). In the end, Erin Andrews, Ric Flair, the bull blaster, the cablinasian calzone at Nick's Place, and Las Vegas were among the items drafted.
Bottom line, Harris' lamentation about the draft industry being invaded by random posers evolved into a fun day of, ironically, random people drafting a bunch of random stuff. We even named it -- the Seinfeldian Mock Draft. Seinfeldian because, in honor of the show about nothing, ours was a draft about nothing. It was so good that in Year 2 (2009), we made it a planned event, added lots of production value, and invited celebrities (Houston Texan WR David Anderson, Rob Stone of ESPN, Spencer Tillman, to name a few). Hilarity ensued.
Well, the third annual Seinfeldian Mock Draft was yesterday, and from a programming standpoint, it was a home run. Our streaming numbers were triple their normal amount. The funny moments in this year's draft topped anything that had ever occurred in previous year's drafts. (I will say that the last hour also turned into a bizarre sequence of some drafters trying to outdo each other on the bawdiness scale; like any great idea, there are things we'll need to re-visit on the drawing board before SMD #4.)
One of the highlights, and the reason you may have clicked this post (YES, we finally got there!) was Houston Texans wide receiver David Anderson actually TRADING UP from #22 to #18 in the draft to get John Harris' pick (gotta love an NFL player actually taking time to move up in a draft about nothing! D.A. is the best.), giving Harris a bunch of his Colorado State game film (which is basically Harris-porn) to move up to 18, one spot ahead of Anderson's arch nemesis, Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle (who was drafting #19).
(Side bar: D.A. and Justice have a semi-feud going right now that seems to manifest itself on our show frequently. You can help D.A. in this feud by following him on Twitter at @whiteout89 so he can pass Richard in number of followers; this is D.A. goal. That, and winning a Super Bowl. As for helping Richard, he's my good friend and all, but I know better than to ask Houston Press readers to help Richard Justice.)
You can hear the "D.A. at 18, R.J. at 19" exchange on podcast. Definitely worth it. Basically, Anderson moves up in the draft, drafts the Chronicle, and in his first order of business he fires Richard Justice and replaces him with his mom and Andre Johnson's mom. Pretty funny stuff, and RJ's reaction is pretty sweet, too. Take a listen.
Also, because I know the 1560 listeners who read this blog will ask, you can find the following:
- SEC Guy and Hatchet Man's trade for the #1 pick on podcast. Funniest segment of the show. Lance Zierlein, the voice behind both characters, is the LeBron James of sports radio comedy in this market. No one's close.
- Travis Rodgers' incredible soliloquy before drafting The Oden. If you're a listener of the Jim Rome Show from about the mid 90's through 2008, this will be enjoyable radio for you.
- Todd Wright of Sporting News Radio with maybe the most practical pick ever in his first Seinfeldian participation.
Enjoy those podcasts, people. They are my Draft Day gift to all of you, wrapped nicely with a big bow on top. Now it's time for me to head to Wild Wing in Katy to do our show, so as I leave, allow me to say...as I roll out of sight, Merry Draft Day to all, and to all a good night!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 PM weekdays on the "Sean & John Show", and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.