Bad Donkeys, No Donut

Before I start in on this discussion -- I wanted to note that after a recent slew of sports-heavy Friday Hot Sheets, I got a text from my girl Hana informing me that there was way too much sports and not enough boobs on my blog lately (a statement I wholeheartedly agree with) and that I should fix it immediately.
So with that in mind, let's talk NFL draft.
First off, the NFL Draft is the worst thing ESPN has ever done to humanity. By definition, any process made up of guys in suits sitting around for three days waiting to say some other guys name every 15 minutes should not be on TV. Don't let any sports fan, no matter how football obsessed they claim to be try to tell you that the draft is in any way interesting. It's boring. It always has been boring. It always will be boring. It's one of those things that's infinitely better when alcohol's involved -- and even that might be at risk this year since it's going to be broadcast on a weekday.
Simply put, the NFL Draft is Valentines Day for sports geeks.
There's months of buildup, it means next to nothing concrete when it happens, nothing's really different the day after it's over -- and yet we expect for everyone else to understand importance and allow us to spend several hours, if not all day long basking in it. It's a non-event that is hyped beyond belief because fans are so starved for games that they'll take anything they can get.

See, once upon a time ESPN happened upon this unique situation -- an NFL event that the networks didn't want. One that allowed for multi-faceted coverage, endless hype, and played directly to their central demographic. Not to mention the fact that broadcasting it every year built up the kind of equity with the league that eventually enabled them to be a part of live game coverage like they always wanted.

Of course, back in the day the draft took place on a weekend -- where you could either go to a sports bar and make a party event out of it, or even watch parts of it at home and then step out for a few hours and run errands and play with your kids and come back and catch up on whatever you missed (if you even really cared). Now it's going to be on during prime time -- right up against popular network shows, all but taunting arguments and tension in the houses where it might get watched. And for what? to find out that the two guys we know are going #1 and #2 will go first and second? Which is to say nothing of all the added tension that has come this time because of former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow (who if you follow this blog even casually you know I'm utterly sick of hearing about how great he is) -- and where he will end up.

The coverage of this question has dominated sports news and opinion outlets for as long as I can remember -- especially here in Jacksonville, where the fawning hero worship of Tebow is fever-pitched not only because of his local ties (he played high school ball here before leading this town's favorite college team to championship prominence) but also because of the Jacksonville Jaguars glaring offensive woes, most of which can be traced back to lackluster quarterback play.

So of course local fans are going crazy over the idea that the Jags will get Tebow who will bless this city once again with his magical God-anointed touch and finally bring us to sanctified glory over all those sinners in Pittsburgh.
Problem is, the Jags apparently don't want him.
See, this is why the draft should be hated. Because nowhere else in the year is it more evident that teams don't give a crap what fans want. The draft is really all about finding guys who can run a certain speed or bench press a certain amount of weight. Teams want you to buy tickets, jerseys, and officially licensed video games -- but they really don't care what you want to see them do in order to help their own chances to win. They'll take some guy you've never heard of to play a position they've already got 5 guys playing, which means he'll sit on the bench for a few years before getting shipped off to Houston.

The Jaguars have desperate defensive needs, both on their line and in the secondary, not to mention holes on their offensive line. They have the 10th pick, which guarantees them a quality player regardless of position -- so it would be simple to think they'd take this opportunity to fill one of those holes and better their chances to win games next season.
And yet most sources say they'll take a running back like CJ Spiller, who they don't really need at all.
It's weird -- I'm not really a Jaguars fan at all. I grew up loving the Denver Broncos and I stick by them year after disappointing year -- but I live here. The Jaguars are the local sports story. And even if I don't have an allegiance to them, it's hard not to kind of want them to do good. Or perhaps better put -- as a football fan, it's sorta baffling as to the reason why they can't ever seem to do any better than 8-8 or 9-7 every year.

It's like having a friend who can't get a date and is always whining about it. You want him to get past it so he can be happy and live his life, but you can't really do anything but offer encouragement and maybe suggest things he might do to better his chances of meeting someone (like you're some kind or expert or something) -- but it's not like you can do the talking for him or anything.

Would I like to see the Jaguars win? Honestly I couldn't care either way -- but it's sort of frustrating to see them flail around apparently without any clue every year just because they won't pay big-money free agents or take chances on name guys with possible character issues. It doesn't really seem like it's that hard to find quality guys floating around if you're willing to pay them and deal with a few press headaches here and there as long as they are producing.

Personally, I would love to be able to go to the Landing or some sports bar and just sit back and watch the wind go out of the room when that pick comes up and they don't take Tebow, but there's still a chance they might take him in the later rounds if he's available.
But one thing I do know -- If Jacksonville does pick him, even if it's with the
very last pick of the very last round, this town will become utterly insufferable.
If you think you're tired of him on your TV with his mom telling women not
to get an abortion, just wait until he starts asking you to go buy a Chevrolet.
Basically put, if I ever want to be able to read the paper or listen to sports talk radio ever again without having to hear about it every time this guy blinks, one of the other 31 teams needs to take him.

The popular talk says that Minnesota or New England are interested. There's even rumors that Buffalo might grab him in the first round with the 9th pick (which is ridiculous, but still would be my preferred scenario -- not only because it would stick it in the eye of all these annoying Jag/Gator fans waiting with baited breath for him to be available for the tenth pick, but also because Buffalo hardly ever gets coverage from anyone, which means St. Tim would all but disappear from the radar).

If this happens, all will be fine -- But there's an even darker scenario on the horizon. One that's starting to pick up momentum as the draft gets closer and closer.
My Broncos apparently love the guy.
Which poses an interesting question -- which would be worse? Tim Tebow confirming the wants and desires of every self-righteous a-hole in the city I live in and extending what has already been an annoying period of unwarranted hero-worship, or dude putting on the uniform of my favorite team -- surely bringing with him scores of bandwagon ex-Gator fans into my life as newly converted Broncos fans and further enabling knowitall assmunch head coach Josh McDaniels to find new ways to screw up our playoff chances?
If Tebow becomes a Jaguar, I'll have to continue to endure him and his fans.
But if he becomes a Bronco -- I'll have to ..cheer for him?
So of course I'll end up watching. Soaking up three days of Chris Bermans awful puns, Mel Kiper's hairdo yelling stats at me, and guys talking on the phone just so I can know whether or not this is going to happen and affect my life somewhere in the 6 months to three years from now.
Pointless. And yet hypnotically fascinating to me.
Thanks a lot, ESPN.

[Listening to:  Erykah Badu - "Window Seat" ]

Comments

Heff said…
Screw the sports ! That's the most erotic sneeze I've ever seen !!
unMuse said…
Only one point of contention:

"Because nowhere else in the year is it more evident that teams don't give a crap what fans want."

But why do fans THINK they should care? I mean, armchair quarterbacking is one thing, armchair sports franchise owner is inane. All the fans really care about is a winning season and management knows it.

Either way, I'm glad the jags don't want Tebow. He will do nothing for the team. He won't sell tickets and he won't win games. And I don't want to spend the next 3 seasons looking at him on the bench, listening to him preach all over the local news.

It's a stupid decision to draft or hire based on popularity over viability. I mean.. I may be a fantastic designer in my own league, but it's not like Image Works is going to hire me as their CEO.
MINISTA said…
Great post dude! as for Tebow...He's good ..but IMO not NFL good.I smell disappointment. as far as your allegiances go..I'm a RAVENS fan..I've always been a Ravens fan. In the event that I move to say...Denver..then I would have to be a Broncos AND a RAVENS fan but hope and pray they never have to play each other.
Hex said…
Heff -- I had a feeling you'd like that one. Hooray hay fever!

unMuse -- One of my lamer habits is listening to sports talk radio, including local variants -- and there's this misconception among many of the participants that the teams they follow, especially the Jaguars have a responsibility to the community, which I agree with you -- as private businesses, they really don't.

But at the same time they sort of market to that idea. They don't mind people thinking and spending money as if this were a community thing. That division/misconception doesn't hurt them any, so they let it run free.

All that being said, in the last 5-10 years, what the Jaguars have considered "viable" draft picks is highly questionable. I understand you can miss on a prospect you thought would turn into a star, but if a team's unwilling to spend money on free agency, then it just seems like they should be more pro-active in the draft. Believe me -- Tebow isn't the answer. But if they do take someone like Spiller then it would be hard not to expect yet another season of the exact same thing we've been seeing for the last few years here.

Draft Clausen, or trade down and load up on defensive lineman and cornerbacks.

Minista -- It's funny, as a Broncos fan I'm sort of hardwired to hate the Browns, but even though they're essentially the same franchise -- I don't really have a problem with the Ravens. Flacco is a beast.
unMuse said…
I have an allegiance to the Jags. And you know me - I'm a bigger football fan than 90% of the males out there.

That being said, you're right on point with their draft issues. They've played it too safe and there needs to be some risk taking, either draft or free agency. But Tebow just isn't it and you're completely right about that.

The thing is, we don't have the money market for the big free agents and drafting is tricky. There's no guarantee that any of those guys will transition smoothly.

I'm with you on Clausen and there definitely needs to be better a OL - not only to give Garrard time to throw but to help extend JD's career and get more of those runs we all know he's capable of.

There's just so much that's needed, wasting a pick on someone that's going to be utterly useless for 2-3 seasons would be a disaster.

"Luckily" my heart also belongs to the Dolphins. (I made myself laugh out loud and woke the dogs.)
Hex said…
unMuse -- Thanks to Josh McDaniels and his attitude *Your* Dolphins now have *my* receiver Brandon Marshall, and as long as he keeps his head on straight that's going to pay off big time.

But my point is that it could have just as easily paid off that way for Jacksonville, who need a big-play wideout and just let Marshall go without even a phone call.

There's being careful with your free agent money and then there's not trying to win at all.

The dolphins get it. The Jags don't.
WhatIGotSoFar said…
Or better yet, here's what you could do. Turn off the television and ignore the event in it's entirety. Take your puppy dog, put a demeaning pink bow on the dog, and take the dog for a walk through the park. Seeing as how all the men in town will be going brain dead from watching a draft, you will have your pick of the ladies in town. You see, all of their men will be casting them aside to watch the draft, right? The lonelier ladies will be outside and they'll see your dog with the bow. "Oooohh, how cute," they'll coo. At which point, you work your magic and make their panties disappear. If my country gave a shit about the NFL draft, that's what I'd be doing. I'd have to rent a dog, but still, it'd be worth it.
The Kaiser said…
Now I kind of want Denver to draft Tebow and see him take them to the Superbowl, just because I love the delicious taste of schadenfreude.
unMuse said…
I'm actually really hopeful for the Phins this year - much more so than last year, even though it was much better than I expected. I actually found pictures recently of my dad, me as a baby and Griese.
Werdna said…
This is all a ploy by the Jacksonville Jaguars to become the Las Angeles Jaguars of Anaheim.

Could have put asses in the seats with Tebow, instead they make a reach pick in the ten slot, end of this year when the J-ville crew are fed up with the team, then they move in the middle of the night.

C-O-N-S-P-I-R-A-C-Y
Hex said…
WIGSF -- My whole point in this was that the draft is unwatchable hell, but because of football's hold on my interest I tuned in anyways. Unfortunately, as soon as it became clear Denver was going to break my heart I switched away from it -- which was actually a good thing, because I got to see all three overtime periods as the Sens took down Crosby and the Pens. (I have the kid this week, so the magic is under wraps -- but I like the way you're thinking)

The Kaiser -- I guess I sorta deserve this crap in some stupid karmic way, but it still sucks.

Unmuse -- The Jags first game is against Denver, and I was all about going to see it live, but now I'm pretty sure it's the last place I'm gonna want to be. (btw, sounds like an awesome pic with Griese and the dad).

Werdna -- The real conspiracy theory I think people should keep an eye out for is next year when McDaniels pulls some other high profile quarterback crap. Last year is was the Cutler mess, now this shit -- I'm starting to think dude likes people talking about him.

He traded away how many picks for a guy that was GUARANTEED to be there in the second round? and for what -- to do him a favor? To keep him as the spotlight as the only person people know how to talk about?

Redonkulous.

I seriously hope Sam Bradford throws for a billion yards next year.

Friggin Redonkulous.