With all the unrest in the NFL right now, it’s nice to see all the focus shifting to the 2011 NFL Draft for a minute. I was worried there was a time when it might not even happen! But it will happen and everyone involved is geared up and ready. Kiper and McShay have their boards ready. The Twittersphere is lit up about Cam Newton. Will he or won’t he go #1? Will he be the most amazing quarterback or a total bust? Cha-os.
My personal love of the Draft is the chaos. I was fortunate to be in the middle of the 2006 NFL Draft. I grabbed dinner with friends at Rosa Mexicana, among them Sean Salisbury, one of the main broadcasters covering the draft, and then headed to the official party at Marquee. On our way to dinner, the chaos began and the night was fantastic from there. Salsibury could barely keep up with the phone calls and eventually cut out early to head back to hotel headquarters to figure out what was going on the next morning. It all surrounded the potential #1.
Matt Leinert was the man that year. He was going #1 and everyone knew it. But then the swapping and switching began and before we’d had our first bite of dinner, Mario Williams was selected by the Houston Texans as #1. He was followed by Reggie Bush and then Vince Young. If you remember, the 2005 National Championship was USC and Texas at the 2006 Rose Bowl. Leinart famously stood on the sidelines following their loss claiming to still be the better team. It was sheer brilliance to see Young go before him. As news broke of the change from what everyone expected to the completely unexpected, Leinart avoided everyone at the party, hiding out in the VIP section and leaving early. Meanwhile, all other players relished the attention, the champagne and the moment of what was happening around them. Chaos.
I can’t help but share this video from what I still think was the best Championship Game yet.
This year, I believe, is no different. Add to it the court case, judge ruling, subsequent appeals, broken down arbitration and you have a serious NFL circus. Thankfully, the players still get their moment. What happens from there? Who knows? Will they choose loyalty with their new Owners? Scab out right away from the Players? Or choose loyalty with the rest of the Players – and who knows how long they’ll all, new and old, stand as a ‘Band of Brothers.’
I’ll be enjoying this years’ 2011 NFL Draft in my Pro Owner shirt. Where do you think the newly drafter players should side? They were just selected by the Owners to stand side by side with Players. What side are you on? And the biggest question of all – are you ready for the Chaos?