- The NFL Draft is here. And like I said last week, the NFL is the only professional sport that can glamourize such an event-and get away with it. The media and fans have bought into it and they hype gets better every year.
- I mean, look at it: It’s like combining every major award show (Oscars, Grammys, Heisman.) the Presidential election, a job interview, the prom and the first day of school-all wrapped into one. In fact, I remember the days when the Draft wasn’t even televised. You could only hear about draft picks on the news whether TV or radio-and then read all about it in tomorrow’s paper.
- Not anymore. It’s become an event that’s been held at Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden in New York City and this year it’s in Chicago. It’s televised by 2 major sports networks (ESPN and NFL Network) and fans are there to cheer their teams on. As they select their players.
- What remains the same is that the NFL Commissioner announces the picks, he realizes that he can’t do that for 7 rounds. Eventually he has a NFL official, Hall of Famer announce the picks or a fan, which I think it’s pretty cool. And finally, certain 1st round picks-who are assured of being drafted are invited with their families and some sit in the Commissioner’s Green Room.
- And I’m forgetting something: Oh yeah-it’s now on for 3 days, starting on a Thursday night (Prime time) for Round 1 only, Round 2-3 Friday night and Rounds 4-7 on Saturday. It used to be Rounds 1-3 Saturday & Rounds 4-7 on Sunday.
- Anyway, the newly-minted LA Rams (in a trade with the Tennessee Titans) are on the clock. Followed by the Philadelphia Eagles (in a trade with the Cleveland Browns), the San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, the Browns (in that trade with the Eagles), Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and NY Giants. There’s your first 10 picks.
- But for the locals, it’s all about the Pittsburgh Steelers, who will have made their choice with the 25th pick. I honestly think this will be a critical draft for the Steelers, especially after how they finished last season. The last critical Steeler drafts in my opinion: 2010, 2008, 2005 and 2004-with the first 3 years resulting with trips to the Super Bowl. Coincidence? I think not.
8.Teams get 10 minutes to make their draft picks in the first round, in the second round, it drops to 7 minutes in Round 2, and 5 in Rounds 3-7. What’s hilarious is that teams have actually been late in submitting their picks (Minnesota in 2003, Ravens in 2011). Come on teams, get your picks in on time.
- In addition to the 2004 draft when the Steelers drafted QB Ben Roethlisberger, my favorite draft was actually 20 years ago when the Steelers biggest move wasn’t via draft-but via trade as they sent a 2nd and 4th Round picks to the then St. Louis Rams for-future HOF RB Jerome Bettis.
- Speaking of the Eagles, apparently QB Sam Bradford wants out of Philly because he assumes they will draft a QB. Come on Sam, what leverage to you have? Play a full season before you open your mouth. But I hope the Eagles can find a suitor for Bradford in a draft-day trade so he won’t be a distraction.
- But wait. There’s other sports to talk about: The NBA is continuing their postseason and to no surprise, the Golden State Warriors have finally finished off the Houston Rockets after beating them 114-81. And get this: They did so without G Steph Curry, who will miss 2 weeks with an ankle injury.
- This goes to show just how good the NBA’s defending champs are, they still have Clay Thompson, Draymond Green and Co, but I’ll say it again: If they’re to repeat a champs, they need Curry. Especially against the San Antonio Spurs, who swept their series vs. the Memphis Grizzles.
- Other teams who have won their respective series: OKC Thunder (vs. Dallas), and in the Eastern Conference, Cleveland (vs. Detroit). The drama’s just beginning folks. Got to love this time of year.
- Speaking of the Warriors, congrats to HC Steve Kerr for winning the NBA Coach of the Year award. Let’s be real: Who else would you give it to? Sure, Kerr didn’t coach part of the first half due to health issues (turning duties to assistant Luke Walton) but when he returned, he kept it going, leading them to a record 73-9 record.
- And speaking of the Rockets, it’s pretty disappointing to see their season end like this. I mean, they barely made the playoffs (thanks to the Utah Jazz laying an egg to the LA Lakers and Kobe Bryant’s 60 points game) but they thought they were as good as the Warriors were and they were quite humbled.
- I honestly think that G James Harden got caught up in the fame and attention. Granted, he’s good-very good, but like Curry, he needs a team around him. Not drama and of course I’m referring to C Dwight Howard, who in my opinion is wearing out his welcome in the NBA. After all these years, dude still needs to grow up.
- Anyway, onto the MLB where the Pirates are looking pretty good on their recent road trip. I give kudos to OF Andrew McCutchen who belted 3 home runs in the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-4 victory vs. the Colorado Rockies Tuesday night. Pretty impressive by the All-Star.
- McCutchen’s the first Pirate to slug 3 Hrs since he did it in 2009, and only the 4th Pirate to do so twice. the others: Ralph Kiner, Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell. Not bad company, especially with the first 3 being Hall of Famers.
- I look at the Chicago Cubs who are truly living up to their hype as they have baseball’s best record at 15-5. Now only are they good, but they’re having fun. That’s a successful and dangerous combination, and I respect them for it. And they have baseball’s best pitcher in Jake Arrieta, who pitched a no-hitter last week.
- The Baltimore Orioles are doing pretty well too and lead the AL East with a 12-8 record, but it’s apparent that they don’t need former Pirate Pedro Alvarez, because he’s not contributing at all. The DH/1B is only hitting .186 with 0 HRs and 1 RBI. Pretty shocking, but from what I hear, he’s remaining optimistic about it all and I hope he turns it around.
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