NFL Draft: A waste of your time

By Kevin Spitz

Sports fans use a certain spectrum when trying to decide what sporting events they should watch on a given day.

Certain games are can’t miss. These games are the ones that we would make excuses to get out of our own wedding for (the first day of spring seemed good until you realized it was during March Madness).

Other games are important, but not dire. Think regular season Illini football and basketball games. I plan my schedule around these games, but if an emergency arose, such as my house burning down, I’d be willing to leave the game – unless it was close.

Farther down the spectrum are games that, as a casual fan of the sport, if it’s after a long day of class or work, you’ll sit down on the couch and watch. Think Cubs versus the San Diego Padres during the summer. This contest is just one game in 162, and though it’s nice to watch, nothing is all that important about it.

On the farthest part of the spectrum you have sporting events that are more than suitable to ignore before going on with your daily life. You check the results later that day or the next.

This is where the most overrated event in all of sports fits in: the NFL Draft. If you have nothing better to do this Sunday than dusting off your Brian Urlacher jersey and seeing who the Bears choose to select in the sixth round, I pity you.

I understand this is something I have harped on before, but it’s just amazing how ESPN sensationalizes stories. How they are able to take something as trivial as rounds two through six of the NFL draft and package it into something people consider entertainment is beyond me. The most entertaining part about the draft to me is what Mel Kiper Jr.’s hair will look like.

The thing that gets me about the draft is that it isn’t sports. The excitement that goes with watching a diving catch or a last second field goal isn’t there. The sort of excitement that accompanies the NFL Draft is illusionary. What fans are doing in that case is rooting on a business.

Granted, there are a lot of die-hard fans who are really interested in the team, so I understand if you want to walk to your computer and check who got drafted, but to equate the NFL Draft with an actual sporting event is just wrong. I know about five of you out there truly put the time into it and study each and every player, but extremely few people can say they know about each and every player drafted, and even fewer care who gets drafted once the big name players are gone.

Of course, some human interest stories go into the draft. For instance, the Illini faithful will be rooting on Rashard Mendenhall, hoping he gets the respect he certainly deserves. It’s just that, beyond human interest, there is no substance. Everything involved with the NFL Draft is speculation.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a good draft. A fantasy football draft in August really revs my engine, and whenever I choose to start a Madden franchise, it is a requirement to start with the fantasy draft. But at the same time, these drafts are ones where time between picks is limited to 90 seconds, a far cry from 900 in the NFL draft.

The weather for Saturday is 62 and sunny. Please, go and enjoy the weather this weekend, and don’t worry about the future of an NFL season about five months away. And when the NFL season does get here, we can all celebrate watching sports, the real reason everyone cares in the first place.

Kevin Spitz is a senior in Engineering. He can be reached at [email protected]