Could the National Football League be any more overhyped than it now is? It’s got it’s own year-round network. It’s fodder for talk radio chatter every day, regardless of season. Even the NFL combine, when prospects just run drills for a collective group of scouts, gets breathless coverage and instant analysis.
But the annual NFL draft always seems to reach new heights of overhype. After all, it’s just the mechanism by which NFL teams select new players. It doesn’t involve anyone playing a game, throwing a pass, or making a hit. Once it was done in a day, in a private room in New York City, without any TV coverage. Now it’s a glittering event, stretched out over three days, conducted live on America’s principal sports network in front of reporters and fans, with newly drafted players trotted out in front of the cameras and prominent players waiting to hear their fate made the subject of endless speculation. Sports commentators talk about the draft and what teams might do for weeks beforehand, experts perform pointless “mock drafts” and those fake drafts get discussed ad nauseum, and the experts and commentators then criticize the selections the teams do make — all before any player even plays a down. It’s absurd.
If you’re the NBA or the NHL, you’ve got to be shaking your heads. You’re in the midst of your playoffs — the most important event in your season — and you’re knocked to the back pages and end of broadcast video clips by the NFL’s mere draft. What could be a better illustration of the NFL’s popularity dominance?
I’ve long since grown sick of hearing about the NFL draft and wouldn’t watch it, and I’ve started to hear other sports fans say the same thing. Could it possibly be that the NFL hype machine has gone too far, and people are starting to react to the overload?