Show me, don't tell me, You've figured out the score...Show me, don't tell me, I've heard it all before...Show me, don't tell me, I don't care what you say...Show me, don't tell me...You can twist perceptions, Reality won't budge...You can raise objections, I will be the judge...And the jury...I'll give it due reflection, Watching from the fence...Give the jury direction, Based on the evidence...I, the jury...Show, Don't tell

Apr 27, 2009

Drafting in the Andes with Heines, Cheese Furniture, Angry Abe Lincoln, Angry Steve Young, Warren Zevon, and a whole lot of bad hair

So, it’s late April. Here in Southwest Ohio, that means forty degree days followed by an eighty degree day, followed by a thirty degree day, all with a ninety five percent chance of rain accompanied by tornado watches and random frost warnings. Across the rest of the country, it also means the beginning of the end of the NBA season, the end of the beginning of the baseball season, the beginning of the end of the NHL season, the end of the beginning of allergy season, the beginning of the end of the American Idol season (or so I’ve heard), and the end of the beginning of this column. And for those of us oh-so-lucky enough to be afflicted with the burden of being Cincinnati Bengals fans, it means three very important things:
1)It’s been four and a half months since the end of another disappointing NFL season.
2)It’s four and a half months until the beginning of yet another disappointing NFL season.
3)It’s just a matter of hours before the Bengals are on the clock with one of the first ten selections in the NFL Draft.

For this year’s draft, I’m settled in on top of a mountain range in the Andes Mountains, watching on my humongous 24” laptop. The blue tooth technology allows me to piggyback off the connection of a somewhat shady-looking villager family about halfway down the mountain’s south side. They’ve got two goats, a pile of wood, a cache of rifles, some big yellow containers with the nuclear symbol on the side, a camera and a Mac. I probably should’ve asked some questions but I don’t normally associate with Mac people. Except for my pals Johnny B and Whitey, who each just so happened to have a couple of hours to sneak away and join me up here for the festivities. To get us through this marathon, we’ve got a case of Heineken and Johnny B’s brought up a twelve of some kind of Argentinian import brew with a crazy-looking snake on the label. Vegas sets the odds at even money that Johnny B takes all but one of those back home to give them a proper burial in his wife’s side of the fridge. Plus, I’ve hidden a couple bottles of Wild Turkey just in case the Bengals take a wide receiver in the first round. Gobble, Gobble!

Now I’ll be the first to admit that there are a whole lot of things that I don’t know. For example: I don’t know the difference between a flapjack and a pancake. I don’t know how to build anything that doesn’t come with an instruction manual. I don’t know how to throw a slider effectively. I don’t know where Waldo is. I don’t know anyone who thinks that Dane Cook is funny. I don’t know the extent of what I’d do for a Klondike Bar. I don’t know how you’re supposed to get stripper glitter off your shirt as you enter the house at 3am. I don’t know the exact terms of the deal between Keanu Reeves and the devil. I don’t know the way to San Jose. I don’t know what “Wang Chung” is supposed to mean. And I sure as hell don’t know why Andre Smith would think that anyone would like to watch him run with his shirt off.

But there are a few things that I do know.

Being a red-blooded American male in his late 30’s, I know that there are three, and only three, kinds of drafts that I like. I like cold filtered drafts served in frosty mugs. I like cool drafts blowing up my boxers on an otherwise warm afternoon. And I like the NFL Draft televised for several hours over the course of a whole weekend every April. Thanks to ESPN, the NFL Network, a Dutch brewing company, and a nice cross-breeze up here on the mountain, I’m happy to report that I was able to simultaneously experience all three of these drafts this past weekend.

I know not everyone enjoys the draft. For some, it’s way too long, Mel Kiper’s a goon, it has a pretty slow pace, by the middle of round two you haven’t even heard of ninety percent of the players being selected, and the coaches always claim that they got exactly the player they wanted, etc, etc, etc. Plus, if you let it consume too much of your weekend, the wife will make you pay for it in one or more of the following ways:
a)cleverly placed doses of guilt
b)the claim of a headache that arrives seemingly out of nowhere later that night
c)a few extra items appearing on your “honey-do” list
d)All of the above

Nevertheless, I always watch it. Always.
Correction: I immerse myself in it.

But I can understand and appreciate why many of you can’t or won’t let yourself get sucked-in by the draft, and that’s where I come in. The following is a blow-by-blow account of Round One from this past Saturday. Not just who got picked where & by which team, but also the really important stuff like: which player selected was dressed most like a pimp, how many times Chris Berman lost his train of thought mid-sentence, and what caused the inevitable annual whizzing contest between Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. So without further ado, here’s a recap of the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft as witnessed from the top of the Andes………

As Brent Musberger would say, “You are looking LIVE at Radio City Music Hall, site of the 2009 NFL Draft…….!!!”

Shouldn’t Brent be involved in this annual event somehow? I mean who’s better at boosting the drama of an otherwise un-dramatic situation better than Musberger? And why don’t they move the draft to different host cities every year, just like the Super Bowl? Is there a rule that says it has to be in New York? Hell, New York doesn’t even really have a team. New Jersey has two. So why not hold it in Atlantic City? I say move it around, spread the wealth a little. Take it to the Fleet Center in Boston, The Kennedy Center in Washington, the Tropicana Dome in Tampa, the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, The House of Blues in New Orleans, the ballroom of that cool new hotel down on the Banks in Cincinnati………….uh, well, you get the idea.

ESPN’s coverage begins and immediately a sense of glee fills the room as we realize that Steve Young is sitting at the desk with Berman, Kiper, and Keyshawn Johnson. Five hours of the electrifying Steve Young! He’s in the seat formerly reserved for either Tom Jackson or Michael Irvin. Apparently, someone at ESPN has decided that it would be a good idea to put him in front of live cameras for about five hours & have him yell at everyone. And Steve thought it’d also be a good idea to immediately start arguing with Keyshawn about nothing. This has all the makings of a train wreck. Pass me a Heine!

The NFL Network’s coverage includes Rich Eisen, Marshall Faulk, Jon Gruden, Steve Mariucci, and Mike Mayock. A good group. Entertaining, informative, self-depricating….. Comparing them to the ESPN crew is like comparing The Rolling Stones to Kiss. I’ll take the Stones, er, the NFL Network every time but for the purposes of this column, we’ll stick with ESPN and see what happens when Kiper starts spitting blood and breathing fire.

The commissioner approaches the podium to announce that the Lions are on the clock. Johnny B. says that they should just go ahead and forfeit the pick in exchange for some stimulus money.

To no one’s surprise, Detroit selects Georgia QB Matthew Stafford. He looks happy for a guy being sentenced to live in Detroit. Steve Young is quick to add that Stafford has “DNA Attitude” and then tosses in something about “metaphorical dead bodies”. Whatev. And for what it’s worth (four pesos and some used chewing gum), it seems to be a popular pick among the losers who are responding to the GMC Sierra Fan Poll. Hey, now I know what GM did with their bailout money- they gave it to ESPN to sponsor this crappy poll. No wonder they’re broke.

The Rams are now on the clock and will likely take a left tackle, either Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe. Whitey says it really just comes down to whether you trust a guy named Eugene to protect your quarterback. Good point. The Rams apparently don’t, and they take Smith. Damn, he’s huge. Roger Goodell comes up to his elbow. That’s one big dude. He’s Panormous! Just thought I’d get that one out of the way since we should be seeing that commercial at least 86 times before the end of the round.

Chris Berman and his spray-on hair turn to Kiper and his Eddie Munster hair (bigger than ever, by the way) to get a feel for what the Chiefs will do with the next pick. Every time I see Kiper, I can’t help but start humming Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London.I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s. His hair was perfect.” Anyway, Kiper’s got it down to Aaron Curry or Tyson Jackson. They send it over to ESPN’s B Team, comprised this year of Trey Wingo, Herm Edwards and Todd McShay. Herm says something with his eyebrows raised real high but I couldn’t hear him over the sound of Johnny B’s cell phone ringing. His ring tone is Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’, which sparks a musical debate between Johnny and Whitey which is sure to turn to politics and then to religion. I figure I’m on my own now for at least a good twenty minutes.

The Chiefs take Tyson Jackson who seems to have borrowed the Predator’s hair for the day. Fantastic.

Quick trip to take a leak and get another beer and it looks like the Seahawks have selected Curry. Nice combination of black & grey Old South-style suit with the piping, combined with the sweet highlighter-green Seahawks ball cap. By the way, I’m now four-for-four in my own mock draft. Yes, I made a mock draft. And yes, I probably could’ve spent my time more wisely.

Berman announces that we have our first trade of the day as the Jets swap with the Browns and so it’s apparently now time for the drunken Jets fans to start making a spectacle of themselves. J!- E! -T! -S!, Suck, Suck, SUCK!
The Jets take………Mark Sanchez. He’s happy, the fans are happy, everyone’s happy. Ooh, not too quick…. There are three Jets fans who are not happy at all. The one on the left looks like he might vomit on the guy in the middle who’s shaking his head and screaming “NOOOO!” Something tells me we’re gonna see this clip a few hundred time over the years if Sanchez is a bust. Speaking of busts, when does the new season of Mad Men start? Is it this summer or not until the fall? Let’s see….Google says….in the fall. Can’t wait. I sure like me some Christina Hendricks.

The Bengals are now on the clock. Gotta be a tackle, right? Monroe or Andre Smith, right? No way Mikey takes a wide receiver or a running back, right? Should be, but I’m worried. Mike Brown is like the guy who gets distracted at the checkout lane by the impulse items. He knows he only has enough cash for the milk, bread, eggs, apples and ground beef he has in his cart but the shiny candy wrappers are calling out to him, driving him crazy to the point that he finally just takes the bread & apples out of the cart and replaces ‘em with some Skittles, a pack of Necco Wafers and a 3 Musketeers bar.

Speaking of food, the Bengals take Andre Smith. Andre is in what looks to be a large banquet room where you’re only allowed to wear white. There must be sixt y people behind him, all in white shirts, even the little baby who’s crying hysterically. Apparently the baby is the only one familiar with the history of the Bengals franchise.

So, Whitey correctly points out that we’ve got ourselves a mammoth offensive tackle who could use a manzierre. You know, from a PR standpoint, wouldn’t it have been tremendous if Andre would’ve shown up for the draft with his shirt off? What better way to turn the tables and show a sense of humor. Although, given the problem the NFL had with Janet Jackson’s breasts, the exposure of Andre’s much larger mammaries would likely bring about some sort of suspension.

The Raiders are up and quickly select Darius Heyward-Bey. Wow, big surprise. Who would’ve thought that Al Davis would reach for the fastest guy in the draft? I did NOT see that coming. Actually, in my four-round mock draft, I indeed have the Raiders taking Heyward-Bey, followed by Usain Bolt in round two, The Flash in round three, and then Daphne from Heroes in round four. Aaand, I just lost all the non-Heroes watchers.

Although you’d think he’d be upset at not being the first wide receiver selected, they just showed Michael Crabtree and everyone at his table is laughing. Not just snickering, they’re giving the whole clap-your-hands-and-kick-your-knee-up-in-the-air laughing routine. I’m waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out from behind a wall and tell DHB that he’s been Punk’d.

Well, the “Who’s okay with a guy named Eugene protecting your quarterback’s blindside?” question has now been answered. It’s the Jaguars. Eugene looks a little ticked off. Looks like we officially have our first “guy who’s gonna play with a chip on his shoulder” of this year’s draft.

A quick check of the Heinekens shows that either a beer run or a nap will be in order by approximately pick number twenty. The seldom-used Heine has been on its game today but is running up a high pitch count already. Whitey suggests calling Sam Adams in from the bullpen soon.

The Packers select BJ Raji, and as luck would have it, he’s chillin’ at home in a bright yellow t-shirt. Check that. That’s way too big to be a t-shirt. I think it’s a car cover with a couple holes cut out of it. Either way, he seems pretty stoked. I guess I would be, too, if I was a fat guy about to get PAID to go play in the heart of dairyland. If I were him, I’d build a house and furnish it with nothing but furniture made out of cheese. Colby Jack couches, ricotta recliners, a limburger loveseat, and a humongous cheddar bed with grated parmesan-filled pillows.

Steve Young is yelling some more and stepping all over Keyshawn whenever he tries to talk.

Uh-oh, Crabtree’s on the phone smiling. And although ESPN’s cameras are broadcasting this, Berman’s Bunch is still debating about where he’ll go. Shouldn’t somebody be whispering in Berman’s earpiece, “Uh, hey Chris. Two things….One: Crabtree is on the phone and grinning from ear to ear…Yeah, look at your monitor….Okay, and two: Sally wanted me to tell you that they’re all out of the bacon, egg & swiss sandwiches and to please not yell at her.”

The Bills are now on the clock. Whitey’s correct as he says that they seem to love Penn State guys. So, will it be PSU defensive end Aaron Maybin? Well, he’s on his cell phone and he’s crying. We’re gonna go ahead and call it….With forty five percent of the precincts reporting, we predict Aaron Maybin as your next Buffalo Bills defensive end. Denver is now on the clock.

Who had a rougher first hundred days in office, Barack Obama or Josh McDaniels? First, McDaniels gets played by New England in the Matt Cassel discussions, then he tries to be a tough guy with Cutler, that backfires, putting him in a terrible negotiating position while having to trade him, and he winds up having to settle for Kyle Orton. Finally, he has the nerve to say that he wanted Orton all along. Really? I don’t think Orton’s own mother would take him over Jay Cutler. At least not to play quarterback. Is anyone in Denver feeling this guy? Anyone?

On a related note, Whitey points out that things haven’t really gone too well for the head coaching disciples of Bill Belichek. Crennel, Mangini, Weiss, now McDaniels……kinda creepy.

The Donkeys select Knowshon Moreno, who now officially becomes the second-most famous Moreno, leapfrogging Omar (see: Pittsburgh Pirates, 1979) but still slightly behind Rita (see: Puerto Rican actress, 1960’s).

ESPN gives the crew a break and tosses it back to Michael Smith in the Bristol studios. He’s got a cool computer screen gadget thingy. Three words: Waste. Of. Money. Whitey comments that Smith has chipmunk cheeks. He’s right. Either that or he just had his wisdom teeth pulled.

Orakpo is taked by the Skins and he’s already got his game face on. He looks angry. Real angry. I’m not kidding when I say that it’s possible he could be on the verge of going off like Abe Lincoln in that Mt. Dew commercial. Five bucks says he goes on stage, grabs the mic from Erin Andrews and shouts, “Would the good people like a reply? I said, WOULD THE GOOD PEOPLE LIKE A REPLY?!!! That would be AWESOME!

The next four picks seemingly go by rather quickly. Malcolm Jenkins, with his tie loosened, doing his best Kevin Bacon in Footloose impression, goes to the Saints. Brian Cushing, hair in a bun, doing his best Steven Segal in Marked for Death impression, goes to the Texans. Larry English, who looks a little like Seal if he was on the juice, goes to the Chargers. And the Bucs trade up with the Browns to get Josh Freeman(my favorite QB in this draft), who’s wearing Bryant Gumble’s haircut from 1986.

I decide to try one of the Argentinian beers that Johnny B brought with him. It tastes like somebody took a Dos Equis, mixed in some Formula 409, a couple stink beetles, and strained it through BJ Raji’s underwear. After a few uneasy minutes pass as none of us wants to be the first to suggest ditching this swill, I finally give in and make the suggestion. Now, as a general rule I don’t agree with wasting beer, so after a brief discussion, it is decided that it shall go home with Johnny B and become his Official Beer for Uninvited Houseguests.

The Donkeys are back on the clock and they grab Robert Ayers from Tennessee. This causes Johnny B to start singing that Flo-Rida song (In the Ayer), and that quickly turns into a debate over the best rap song that a white guy can sing without looking entirely stupid. After a few minutes, and apparently the Eagles trading up with the Browns and taking Jeremy Maclin, we come up with our top three….
1)Anything by Eminem
2)Anything by the Beastie Boys
3)Just a Friend by Biz Markie

Steve Young is yelling once again. He really needs to seek some counseling.

The Lions use their second first round pick on tight end Brandon Pettigrew. Johnny B blurts out, “Congratulations, you’ve just been sentenced to living in Detroit, losing ten-plus games a year, and missing out on EVERY FAMILY THANKSGIVING DINNER FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS!” I’ll go ahead and let you guess which one of us actually ingested one of those Argentinian beers.

The Browns do the Bengals no favors and take a center off the board, Cal’s Alex Mack. Apparently they wanted him so much that they traded down three times to get him.

The Vikings are now on the clock and they take Percy Harvin. As Whitey cleverly points out, at the combine, “He not only tested positive for weed, he also tested positive for speed.” (He actually ran a 4.41 forty but Whitey’s so proud of that line that I don’t have the heart to step on it.)

Almost precisely when I predicted it would occur, Whitey makes a call to the bullpen as he leaves to summon Sam Adams into the game for us.

Johnny B calmly and correctly points out that ESPN’s B team of Wingo, Edwards and McShay are clearly better than their A team. He’s right, and it’s not even close. By the way, Steve Young is at it yet again. Good Lord, I think he may have a coronary right on the dais. If I were Keyshawn, I’d seriously start thinking about slipping some cough medicine into his coffee mug.

The Ravens trade up and take Michael Oher. What a great story. As a kid, he was basically orphaned by a derelict mother and then adopted by a rich white family with a cute daughter his own age. The only thing missing was a wisecracking older maid and a sassy younger brother with a penchant for asking him “What’chu talkin’ ‘bout?”

Steve Young screams some more, Berman stumbles some more, Mortensen looks like he’s been sniffing glue, and the Falcons take Peria Jerry from Ole Miss. That’s two Ole Miss guys in a row. To make it three straight, Parcells is going to have to reach for Mike Wallace or Jamarca Sanford. Unfortunately, the streak ends at two as the Fish select Vontae Davis from Vandy.

Whitey’s back with the Sam Adams and he also snagged a pizza! Pepperoni, sausage, onion and jalepenos. We’re clearly going to need the wind to kick up a little.

Bill Belichek appears to be quietly dueling with Mangini to see which of them can trade down the most by the end of the day.

The Packers select Clay Matthews Jr. Nice to see Clay Matthews Sr sitting next to him. And especially nice to see that Sr has decided to borrow Bruce Jenner’s feathered hair for today’s festivities.

Well, the Colts have apparently drafted the Color Guard, or something.
Nope, Donald Brown is on his cell phone and smiling. That can mean only two things: 1) He’s being drafted by the Colts, and 2) The ESPN A team is completely oblivious to it.
Good for Donald, he seems like a class act. And from the looks of it, his family could use the cash. He’s sitting on a powder blue couch that somebody in the family must’ve won on Let’s Make a Deal back in 1971.

The Bengals take another punch to the gut as the Bills select Cincinnati native and University of Louisville center, Eric Wood. Dude may have the hair of a Cabbage Patch doll but he can play.

You guessed it, Steve Young is screaming again.

The goons at Radio City go crazy as the Giants take Hakeem Nicks. Now Jeff Fisher’s mustache is on the clock.

The Titans take Kenny Britt, wide receiver from Rutgers. The story here isn’t about Kenny Britt’s talent or that the Titans finally took a wideout in the first round of a draft. The story is that we knew the pick two minutes before ESPN announced it. All three of us clearly read the lips of the ninety-ish year old guy who took the card from the runner and passed it to the guy next to him. Speaking of which, what in the heck kind of system is that, anyway? The coaches, owners, scouts and GMs all sit in meeting rooms hundreds, if not thousands of miles away, making the picks. One of them then calls to New York and gives the pick to two old guys wearing headphones at their team table. They then each write down the pick and hand it to a runner who’s accompanied by a security guy of some kind. The runner hands off the card to another old guy, who hands it to yet another old guy, who confirms with another old guy, who then sends it with an intern over to the Commish. What is this, 1957? It’s staggering to think that this hasn’t gotten messed up yet. All it would really take is for the two old guys at the team table to both mistakenly hear “Fui Vakapuna” instead of “Rey Maualuga” and suddenly you’ve got mass hysteria.

Whitey asks if there’s anyone alive who loves to hear his own voice more than Chris Berman? Easy answer: No, not even Stephen Hawking.

The Cardinals are on the clock. Gotta be Beanie Wells, right? Right.

I’m in dire need of an enema and a blood transfusion. I’ve hit an exhaustion point usually reserved for people in the Eco-Challenge and porn stars trying to set gang-bang records. Chris Mortensen is starting to make sense, Chris Berman is becoming less annoying, and Mel Kiper is looking quite handsome. I think this is part of ESPN’s strategy. They win you over by wearing you down slowly and methodically, using tactics made famous by the Vietcong and Jerry Lewis.
I’m ready to talk.

We are mercifully at the last pick of round one.
The hated Steelers take Ziggy Hood, defensive tackle from Missouri. He quickly becomes the third most famous Ziggy, ranking behind Ziggy Marley and that lame cartoon character who wore a Snuggie all the time.

Well, that’s it. Round One is complete and I’m in desperate need of a nap. Time to kick Whitey & Johnny B off of the mountain, power-down the laptop, peel off the contacts, swallow a couple of Enzyte tablets, and wake up in about four hours-…………..just in time for the end of Round Three!

Can’t wait for next April when my guess is we’ll hear Commissioner Tagliabue kick things off with, “Welcome to the 2010 NFL Draft. The Oakland Raiders are now on the clock.”