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Thursday night is another reminder of how bloated and self-important the NFL can be.
Notice I called it “NFL.” Just about everyone who ever mentions the league on television calls it “The National Football League.” See? Bloated and self-important.
The Buffalo Bills will get $850 million in taxpayer funds for a new stadium. The NFL gets whatever it wants. The American people, as every elected official in Washington always calls them, can’t live without it and will always pay for it. Your local schools or infrastructure should be so lucky.
The NFL draft is taking a simple matter and dragging it across most of six hours, then on to a second day, and then to a third day. Which makes it almost as long as the Super Bowl’s pregame show.
The first round of the draft starts at 7 p.m. That’s 8 p.m., Eastern time. There are 10 minutes between each of the 32 picks. Everyone uses nearly every second of those 10 minutes even if they immediately know who they’ll be choosing so television can interview the player just picked, show footage of him, and explain why it was such a great choice.
I’m estimating 10 million words of filler will be used Thursday night alone. I may be shortchanging it.
It’s all kind of exhausting.
But people watch it, love it, inhale it. No matter that it’s kind of silly, because there is no earthly way of knowing how any of these players will pan out. There have been No. 1 picks who were busts and there have been No. 199 picks (Tom Brady) who did all right.
All the mock drafts that have floated across the television and radio airwaves and fluttered across cyberspace will be wrecked sometime in the first five or 10 picks when a team does something unexpected. It will be called a “reach.”
Some thought the Kansas City Chiefs reached when they spent the 10th pick of the 2017 draft on quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs got it right.
Many thought the Chicago Bears really reached when they took quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the second pick of that same draft. Sometimes the critics get it right.
In that same draft, Alvin Kamara went to New Orleans at No. 67 and Cooper Kupp went to the Rams at No. 69. George Kittle went to San Francisco at No. 146. They’ve done all right.
This week’s draft is being held in Las Vegas. Prospects will walk a red carpet above the Fountains of Bellagio. Three hundred drones will form shapes over the fountains to showcase the 32 NFL teams.
At least it’s in the right city for that.