NFL DRAFT: EXACTLY WHAT IS ALL THE HYPE ABOUT
With draft day less than two weeks away, you can almost feel the tension, with who is going to be selected first overall. In what seemed to be an obvious choice, several NFL and draft experts are on the record as saying that Jameis Winston to the Bucs is no longer a sure thing. Hundreds of people will be impacted by this simple choice, and millions of dollars will be won or lost, but the NFL will be laughing its way to the bank. The draft has become big news in recent years, and with all the coverage via social media, blogging, sports networking getting information in real time is not fast enough. We used to be content getting combine results at the end of the day published online. Now we can watch the combine on TV. Nothing says entertainment like watching a 21-year-old kid with his shirt off running the 40-yard dash. We can’t get enough of it however, and this year the NFL handed out hundreds of media credentials to a bunch of media schmucks who are all going to report on the same thing, and we’re ecstatic to know exactly how many times Clemson star Vic Beasley can bench press 225lbs.
What we have vested in the draft really starts before the combine, and in some cases before college. On Friday nights small town America will follow a young football player’s life right through to the day he holds a press conference to announce what college he will attend. This process is important in big cities as well, but small towns hold in so much more pride with the athletes they send to college than big cities who expect to send multiple players from their 5A state championship football factory. They follow their home town hero through 3-4 years of college attaching themselves to their player as well as his teammates and now that player who once had the backing of a small town, now has the backing of his college town and all the Alums scattered all over the country. When his college career is over whether early or after obtaining a degree, it’s no wonder why so many people are interested in all of this kid’s measurables. His town who was with him from the start, to his school, to the agent he just signed all have something vested in him.
On draft day there are 32 fan bases by which only one will love a player who is about to be drafted. The other 31 teams… well they hate you… but the one team that drafted the player they had been eyeballing from the start is instantly beloved. Now an entire city, and entire mass media market filled with civic infrastructure and every type of governmental agency you can think of want so badly for this player to be the next big thing. That’s a lot of pressure on an individual, but it’s ultimately what they worked towards. There’s no shortage of support, and everyone knows who that athlete is, how fast he can run, how much he can lift and where he went to high school.
This now professional athlete (who is 22 years old) has amassed a following of hundreds of thousands of people who have something of themselves built into his existence. At the end of the day everyone wins, the player’s hard work pays off, the fans are thoroughly entertained, the agent is counting his money as you read this, and NFL – well they have been reaping the benefits of this kids life before they even knew he existed and they were right there for his crowning moment on draft day, that you watched on TV… and that my friends is the essence of “hype”.