The human chess match that is the NFL draft has hypnotized
The minutiae of
Cleveland's draft plans are
fascinating to some fans much as Kasparov vs. Deep Blue must have enthralled millions
of chess enthusiasts. Personally, I don't find chess all that interesting. Still,
I'd rather watch a monkey play checkers against a Commodore 64 than listen to
another minute of this draft talk. What is now a ratings-grabbing, three-day
spectacle bores me to death.
The biggest reason for that derision is that the Browns have had the opportunity to pick in the top ten a total of nine times since 1999 (they traded out of the top ten in 2009 and 2011). The joke goes that the NFL draft is
That means five months of dissecting exactly what the Browns need to reach the Holy Grail of 8-8 within the next three years. Draft talk essentially overshadows everything else this town has going sports-wise. Folks may be excited about the promise of Kyrie Irving and were pretty ticked at the Indians for not getting an impact bat in the off-season, but that talk usually circles back around to sizzling topics like Mo Claiborne's 40- time and what Mike Holmgren will have for breakfast on the day of the draft (Wheat germ and two raw eggs, shells included, according to unconfirmed reports).
Of course, the NFL is at its unprecedented height of popularity. As reported by nfl.com, the draft drew 42 million viewers for the three days of coverage last year. (If you're wondering,
was tops in TV ratings, while the Cleveland-Akron market finished fourth.)
It's not impossible to understand the appeal of the NFL draft for a fanbase that loves its football. The draft symbolizes hope - the dream that this will be the year we get a difference-making impact player, one picked by a smart management team ready to build the team into respectability and beyond.
Aren't we tired of merely hoping, though? The boatful of busts over the years is what keeps putting us in this position, but Cleveland seems not to mind its yearly serving of horse manure and shame if that means we get more exciting draft talk in the bargain. People hate bad football, yet they love the draft...that right there is the bit of cruel irony that does my head in.
So, Heckert can spend the next week mincing words and putting up smoke screens and whatever else Browns' management thinks will put other teams off their scent before D-Day. Just don't ask me to listen, or watch the "excitement" unfold come April 26.