NFL Draft fascination pushes NBA, NHL Playoffs to the back burner

We’re down to less than 12 hours before the start of the NFL Draft and I
can’t help but wonder what all the fuss is about. I love NFL Football
as much as the next guy, maybe more, but if there was ever an “all
dressed up and no wear to go” event, it’s the NFL Draft. Never in the
history of mankind has there been a more overblown, over-hyped,
over-covered event that doesn’t typically net results until two or three
years after it ends than the NFL Draft.

How then is it possible that a sport’s offseason lottery process
overshadows the playoff season of two other major U.S. sports? While I
favor football nfl-draft.jpgover all of the other sports available, I would be
incensed if I was a fan of the NBA or the NHL and my sports were forced
to take a back seat to a new prime-time event that used to be held in
relative obscurity on Tuesday mornings but now steals the ratings like
an “American Idol” finale. This is supposed to be the most exciting time
for hoop and puck fans but yet their teams’ run for a title is barely a
footnote on the sports pages in comparison to the all-encompassing,
year-round NFL coverage. Meanwhile, we open SportsCenter with anyone of
the infinite number of “draft experts” spewing out endless, mind-numbing
stats about how a nose tackle from Tennessee cranked out 34 reps of 225
pounds at the Combine. How is that possible?

Did anybody notice that Jason Kidd came with two rebounds of his 105
career triple-double the other night in the Mavs’ Game 1 playoff win
over the Spurs? Did anyone see how Andre Miller scored a career
playoff-best 31 points in the Blazers Game 1 upset win over Phoenix? Was
anybody tuned in when LeBron did his best MJ impression by answering
the smack-talking Bulls by shooting nearly 70 percent from the field and
poured in 40 in a Game-2 victory? Did anyone see Gerald Wallace turn in
a 25-point, 17-rebound night in a losing effort against Orlando in Game
1 of their playoff series? Did anyone south of the Canadian border pay
any attention to the amazing performances turned in by NHL superstars
Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby as they both state their claim as the
best player in the sport? And I won’t even get into what’s been lost
from the first 1/4 of the baseball season, but a no-hitter by Ubaldo
Jimenez and an amazing consecutive-game RBI streak by Jorge Cantu were
others who unjustly flew under the radar while far more of us wondered
if Tim Tebow’s unorthodox style would translate to the NFL. But why?

For most sports fans, these impressive feats have gone unnoticed and
underappreciated and that’s simply unfortunate. I understand that the
fact the NFL is the clear-cut fans’ choice as the top sport in this
country and I’m one of those people that helped it blow by MLB Baseball
as our country’s national pastime. What I don’t understand is how an
event like the draft could unseed the playoff runs of the NBA and the
NHL? The draft is speculation city. A televised crapshoot that doesn’t
pay out its winners until a minimum of five months later and typically
closer to 40 months after the selections are made.

So what’s the fascination you ask? I guess it’s the hope-springs-eternal
element in all of us. You know, the optimism that a new day, a brighter
day is dawning and that the guard from Abeline-Christian who ran the
4.9 40 time will put our team over the top. The hope is that the draft
will produce a late-round gem the likes of Tom Brady or Terrell Davis
and turn our squad from pretender into contender.

When the draft starts tonight, me and millions of others will make our
choice and ultimately the NFL will be selected in favor of the NBA, MLB
and NHL options on the nearby channels. Sure, when the draft goes to
commercial, I’ll be flipping over to get a few sneak peeks of the others
but I’ll quickly return to the almighty NFL. Not exactly sure why, but I
will and I likely won’t be alone. Sorry NBA. Sorry NHL. Just a few more
days MLB. Hold on and you can take your place atop the sports world.
But enjoy it while you can because just when your playoffs begin in
September and reach their climax in October, the NFL season will kickoff
and you’ll be kicked to the curb yet again.


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