Reporting Colin Dunlap
PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — For many of you, this Thursday night has become one of those can’t miss days on the sports calendar, one of the Holy Days of Obligation in the Church of Steeler Nation.
Heck, forget just Thursday night, but Friday and Saturday as well, when the NFL — in an effort to maximize exposure — has stretched the selection of players in their entry Draft into a three-day, made-for-TV event that we all feel the need to tune into.
Good for the NFL.
They saw this nation had a seemingly unquenchable thirst for pigskin coverage and pounced on it.
Good for the NFL.
But these three days, to me at least, are a chance to catch up with some of the same characters we see during this coverage every year. Indeed, there are some stereotypical figures that we get to renew acquaintances with every season that only NFL Draft television coverage delivers us.
Some are as follows:
- The Prospect with the smoking hot wife/girlfriend: During last year’s draft, did we really care about the merits of Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill? Did we really care about his arm strength or pocket savvy? Were we concerned with his mobility or clock management skills or that he went on to become the No. 8 pick of the Miami Dolphins? No. We were concerned about how many times the television coverage was going to twist the cameras in on his smoking hot newlywed wife, Lauren. She trended on Twitter right away because she was, well, smoking hot. And the cameras kept focusing on her because she was, well, smoking hot. I’m anxious to see who shows up in New York City this year and gets the torched passed to them from Lauren Tannehill.
- The Mama-Cryin-Uncontrollably-‘Cause-She’s-So-Happy Mama: This happens a lot. A whole lot. This is, many times, a nice churchgoing mother who did everything she could to raise the recently-selected young man and raise him up right. Often — and it isn’t a knock, just reality — but this is the mother of a lineman who, well, looks like the mother of a lineman. Generally, when the microphone catches her words, her cries are accompanied with plentifully thanking Jesus.
- The Sad in the Green Room Guy: Perhaps no one has played this role better than Brady Quinn in the 2007 Draft at Radio City Music Hall, when Quinn was projected to go in the top 12. First the Dolphins passed on him to take Ted Ginn, Jr. at No. 9 when Quinn was sure he was going to be picked. Then Quinn pouted, frowned, moped, grimaced and looked like a kid who just saw someone steal his pet Dalmatian after every pick was announced until the Browns finally took him at No. 22.
- The Prospect with the ridiculous suit: OK, we know you are about to get paaaaid. OK, we know the suit you’re wearing probably cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $8,000. But, really, my man? Did you have to go with the fluorescent lime green, three-piece polka dot with the yellow, Gucci pocket square? And, was it necessary to make it all pop with some bright blue ostrich belly boots?
- The Thanks-Everyone-in-Humanity Guy: Certainly, many, many people have helped prospects get to the point in their life where they were selected to be part of an NFL franchise. But when passed the mic, is it really necessary to thank everyone? And I mean everyone. Sometimes guys get interviewed and thank their mom. And their dad. And their sister. And brother. And college coach. And coordinator. And position coach. And high school coach. And priest. And Aunt Bea. And Uncle Jim. And Tony, because they’ve been best friends since 5th grade. And, oh, oh, oh wait, their girlfriend because they almost forgot her and she’d kill them if they didn’t on national TV. And their strength coach. And agent. And thanks to the pet goldfish, too. Oh and how could they forget the lunch lady and Old State U. And, oh wait, is there someone else …
- Archaic Cell Phone Prospect: You are about to get drafted into the NFL. You have an agent who has hit you off with a cash advance. And, every time they show you talking on your phone, it’s a flip-phone from 2001 that’s the same one my grandmother — who only uses it in case of emergency or if a fire breaks out at BINGO — carries around. Is H.O.V.A your ringtone, maybe some Lifehouse song? Come on, man. Step up your cell phone game.
- The Prospect Whose Whole Crew is Over the House With Airbrushed, Personalized Shirts: This is one of the prospects who didn’t get invited to New York, but rather a prospect projected to go somewhere between, say, rounds 2-5. When the TV feed goes live and direct to his house, it becomes glaringly apparent, for some reason, all 35,278,452 people jammed into his living room decided to get matching shirts for the occasion. Nice touch. That’s dedication.
- The No-One-Gave-Me-A-Chance Guy: This guy normally is selected out of a small school. Take your pick: Tusculum, Savannah State, Truman State, Shaw, South Carolina State, Samford, Stony Brook, Arkansas Pine-Bluff. Take your pick, somewhere such as that. But it isn’t enough that he was selected in the NFL Draft. No, at every chance he gets, he needs to remind everyone who will listen that no one gave him a chance. Good for you, kid. Now is your chance.
- Fake Smile Agent Guy: This guy is a gem. He can be found both on site in New York and in the homes of those mid-to-late round guys. You’ve seen him; we’ve all seen him. As soon as the prospect gets the news on his cell phone, he immediately hugs the slimy agent guy. And the look on the slimy agent guy — an enormous fake smile — screams one unyielding thing: Man, this kid is making me rich!
- The Prospect-You-Know-Is-Blowing-All-The-Money-He’s-About-To-Get: The easiest sign of this is the jewelry. Now, keep in mind this guy, just months ago, was scratching together his life on a Pell Grant and some leftover money from his football scholarship. But, now, oh yes now, he saw fit that he needed to wear an $800,000 platinum necklace (with the matching $100,000 wristwatch) to the Draft? Running the football or tackling a quarterback might be this guy’s strong suit. Know what isn’t? Being frugal. See you on one of those 30 for 30 documentaries soon, my man.
Former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sports Writer Colin Dunlap is the featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weeknights from 10 p.m. -2 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.