Every year around this time, I put out a special post about the NFL draft. Okay, so it's only been one FanPost last year (click here to read last year's "Scenes From A Draft"), must we quibble over fine points? Anyway, with the draft mere days away, we here at Battle Red Onion have been hard at work watching the teams of the NFL determine which of college football's best will become part of their squads. We'll go behind the scenes to see what goes into choosing players and the surprisingly difficult task of getting their names called out, and what goes into the broadcast of the NFL equivalent of Christmas.
While there is some conjecture and nonsense involved, there is also some hard-hitting fact-based journalism as well (actual contents: 99.9999% Conjecture, .0001% Facts...and even that's pushing it, considering the draft hasn't happened yet).
Since this post will be on the long side as it is, let us waste no more time with any further ado and get right to the draft. The Indianapolis Colts are on the clock.
Players' Green Room - 8:03 p.m. EDT
Andrew Luck: Well that was fast.
Oliver Luck: Put that phone on speaker, son. So I can hear.
(A. Luck answers the phone)
A. Luck: Hello?
Colts GM Ryan Grigson: Andrew? This is Ryan Grigson of the Manni--I mean Indianapolis Colts. Are you ready to be part of the Horseshoe? (facepalm) (mumbles) Can't believe Irsay is making me use that term.
A. Luck: Ha ha ha...noooooooo.
Grigson: No?? But Andrew, why?
(A. Luck shakes his head confusedly)
O. Luck: We think Andrew would be better served going to an established team, like the Dolphins.
Grigson: You can't...you know damn well we've been planning to draft you since what's-his-name's neck gave out last season. We even announced we were choosing you days ago! We're drafting you, and that's that.
A. Luck (blinks repeatedly): What just happened? Have I been drafted yet?
O. Luck: Not just yet, son.
Grigson: We're drafting you in five seconds! Haven't you been listening?!
A. Luck: Mr. Grigson! I'm really looking forward to being a member of your team.
O. Luck: You what?
A. Luck: I'm gonna be a Colt, Dad, and you can't stop me.
O. Luck: No, you aren't.
A. Luck: I like Indianapolis, and they're going to pay me lo--
O. Luck: Andrew (O. Luck stands out of his chair), listen to your father!
(Mechanical whirring noise originating from A. Luck's neckbeard. A. Luck has glassy-eyed stare)
O. Luck (continued): You will not allow yourself to be drafted by the Colts. If they do, you will demand a trade to San Francisco or Miami.
Grigson: What's that? I can't hear you, Andrew.
A. Luck (groggily): Yes, father.
Grigson: Andrew? Are you there?!
A. Luck (mechanically): I don't want to be drafted by the Colts. I'm going to the Dolphins (drools from side of his mouth).
O. Luck: Sorry, Mr. Grigson, but my son's mind is made up.
Grigson: Wha-what have you do--
O. Luck: Goodbye, Mr. Grigson.
(Hangs up phone)
A. Luck (in high, childlike voice): Can I have some ice cream, Daddy?
O. Luck: As much as you want. You are a grown man, after all.
Washington Redskins War Room - 8:12 p.m. EDT
General Manager Bruce Allen (Slams down phone): Dammit! I can't get through to him! If we can't get him on a phone, then nobody will know we want Robert Griffin III! This is a disaster!
Mike Shanahan: I still don't see what was so terrible about Rex Grossman. It's not like this offense hinges on a good quarterback.
Kyle Shanahan: Um, Dad--
M. Shanahan (raises hand imperiously): Quiet, son, grown-ups are talking.
(Allen and both Shanahans look nervously at the phone)
Digitally Scrambled Voice: Are you Bruce Allen?
Allen (picks up phone): Yes. This is Allen.
Digitally Scrambled Voice: I have your quarterback.
Allen: He...he says he's got RGIII.
(The war room falls into silence)
Dan Snyder: Give me the phone.
(Hands the phone to Snyder)
Snyder: Look, I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you're looking for ransom, I can tell you I have no intention of paying it. What I do have are the energy and the resources to track down scumbags like you; resources I have acquired over a long and successful career. Resources that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you return my quarterback, that will be the end of it. I will not look for you. I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will hunt you down. I will find you. And I...well...just hope that I don't find you.
Digitally Scrambled Voice: Good luck (hangs up).
Snyder: Give me back my quarterback! (hangs up phone) (to bodyguards) Find him.
Minnesota Vikings War Room - 8:28 p.m. EDT
Leslie Frazier: What's the holdup? Why hasn't the pick been made already? Spielman should have made the call by now.
(Frazier looks nervously at clock)
Frazier (cont'd.): 30 seconds left. We can't screw this pick up, not again. Dammit, Spielman, hurry your ass up! Has anybody seen him?!
Underling: I think he's in his office.
Frazier: Damnit, he needs to be down here.
(Frazier marches up to General Manger Rick Spielman's office)
Frazier (stares at big television): Spielman! What in God's name are you--
Spielman: Shhhhhh!!! I'm busy!
Frazier: Busy?! Doing what? Matt Kalil is about to slip out of our grasp!
Roger Goodell (on television): The Vikings have not turned in a pick. The Cleveland Browns are on the clock.
Frazier: What can possibly be so important as to miss out on our next star tackle?
Spielman: I'll have you know I'm in the middle of a very tight game of "Words With Friends" with the Bears' GM and I...just (types frantically) placed a word. There. Now what were you on about?
Frazier: The draft! The draft! We missed our damn pick!
Spielman: Right. I better call it in.
Frazier (facepalm): Thank you! Sheesh!
(Computer beeps. Spielman glances at his monitor)
Spielman: How in the hell is "cuid" a word?!
ESPN Set, Radio City Music Hall - 8:45 p.m. EDT
Chris Berman: We'll be right back with the 2012 NFL Draft right after this message, so we can miss the St. Louis Rams' pick.
Producer: And...we're out.
(Mel Kiper jumps out of his chair and bolts for the restroom)
Kiper (slathers hair gel/industrial lubricant into his hair): Oh sweet mother of God, I didn't think I could hold out this long without another coating.
(Kiper appraises himself in a mirror and smiles demurely)
Kiper (cont'd.): You're a pretty, pretty girl, Mel, you know that? Berman and those other guys are going to be soooooo jealous of just how beautiful you are, aren't they? (High pitched squeal) They so are!
Goodell (muffled over loudspeaker): The Jacksonville Jaguars are now on the clock.
Kiper: Oops, we skipped over the Rams, means we're back from commercial!
(Kiper skips back to the stage)
Kiper: Did I miss anything?
Main Stage, Radio City Music Hall - 8:56 p.m. EDT
Goodell: With the seventh pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select: Barn Broadside, wide receiver, Colorado State.
NFL Network Set, Radio City Music Hall - 8:57 p.m. EDT
Rich Eisen: Barn Broadside, he wasn't even projected to be drafted! For more on this stunning pick, let's go to our very own blonde news actress for some inane questions: Blonde?
News Actress: Thanks, Rich. I'm here with Gene Smith of the Jaguars. Gene, why did you pick Broadside when other teams had him as an undrafted pick?
Smith: Well, we figured Blaine Gabbert needed all the help he could get; I mean, you saw him last year. He was terrible. With his sturdy frame and his ability to get near the ball, we assumed that Gabbert could at least hit him. Or at least we hope so, anyway. We'd also like to announce that next year, our Jaguar logo will be decorated with a magnificent bushy mustache to commemorate our new owner's purchase of the team.
News Actress: Thank you. Rich, back to you.
Miami Dolphins War Room - 9:03 p.m. EDT
General Manager Jeff Ireland: Sir, I just accepted a too-good-to-pass-up offer from the Eagles.
Owner Stephen Ross (puts down list of general manager resumes): I'm listening.
Ireland: I just traded our entire draft this year to the Eagles.
Ross: You what?! What on Earth could they possibly have to offer that's worth giving up all of our picks?!
Ireland: Cheesesteaks. A lifetime supply of cheesesteaks for both of us sir. Aren't you excited? I love a good cheesesteak, don't you?
Ross (cradling head in his hands): (mutters) Idiot. So are they Pat's cheesesteaks or Geno's?
Ross: Pat or Geno, whose cheesesteaks are we getting a lifetime supply from?
Ross (bangs head repeatedly on desk): Get out.
Arlington Cowboys War Room - 9:14 p.m. EDT
Jerrah Jones: I like this kid from Arkansas, he's got gumption and he went to Arkansas.
Jones: Anyone who disagrees with my decisions will be regarded as a traitor and treated as such.
Underling: Master, I just wanted to suggest maybe someone OTHER than an Arkansas pla--
Jones: You're fired. Get out.
(Underling leaves room)
Jones: Anyone else having one of them thinky kinda days today?
Jones: I don't believe any of you. You're all fired.
(Entire front office staff leaves)
Jones: Y'all think I'm making the right decision, don't y'all?
Imaginary Singing Potatoes (In singsong voices): Of course, Jerry. We'd never lead you astray, Jerry. We love you, Jerry. Only Arkansans can be trusted, Jerry.
Jones: And these scouting reports?
Imaginary Singing Potatoes (In singsong): A pack of filthy lies compiled by unbelievers and charlatans. We know all, Jerry. We can make the Cowboys great again, Jerry.
Jones: I knew I could trust y'all.
ESPN Set - 9:31 p.m. EDT
Goodell (In background): With the sixteenth pick...
(ESPN crew shouting loudly over one another in an attempt to be the most correct)
Goodell (Louder): With the sixteenth pick...
(ESPN crew increases in volume)
Goodell (Reaches for bullhorn): Hey! I'm trying to make an announcement here. Mind shutting the (expletive) up for five seconds?
(ESPN crew mumbles, since they are physically incapable of being quiet)
Goodell: Thank you. With the sixteenth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select: Ryan Tannehill, quarterback, Texas A&M.
Berman: After that incredibly rude outburst by the commissioner, the Jets announce their pick, Ryan Tannehill, which I knew all along as I am the Schwam. For more, let's go to unblinking red-headed news actress.
News Actress: Thank you, Boomer (groans quietly), I'm with general manager Mike Tannenbaum. Mike, you already have the greatest quarterback in the known universe because our bosses say so, and Mark Sanchez. Why did you get yet another quarterback?
Tannenbaum: For the lulz, of course. I've heard from some of our scouts down south about these things called "Aggie jokes." Now that we have Tannehill, we can make jokes that start with "Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez, and an Aggie walk into a bar..." I mean, the jokes will just write themselves.
News Actress: How will he help you win games?
Tannenbaum: Win games? We just traded for Tim Tebow. If we were that serious about winning games, do you think we'd do something that absurd? No, the reason is because we've already got something of a reputation as being a circus. Now we're just emb--Would you please blink? Your blank stare is unnerving.
(News Actress blinks with some difficulty)
Tannenbaum: Thank you. As I said, we just decided to embrace the circus aspect of our team.
News Actress: Thank you. There you have it. Back to you, Butthe--I mean Boomer.
Tennessee Titans Owner's Office - 9:37 p.m. EDT
Minion: Your evilness?
Team owner and Supreme Ruler of Hell Bud Adams: I am busy. Go away. (looks down at evil plans laid out on desk) I will have my revenge, Manning. Nobody makes a fool out of me! Except me!
Adams (looks up suddenly): What? This better be important...for your sake.
Minion: Ye...yes, your most repulsiveness, it is. If you'll just follow me to the war room.
Adams (stands up and leaves office): Grumble, grumble...revenge...grumble...Manning, grumble...Super Bowl.
Tennessee Titans War Room - 9:38 p.m. EDT
Adams: Which one of you dares to disturb me?
General Manager Ruston Webster: I did, your vileness. Our turn's come up in the draft. We wanted to run it by you first so that if it displeases you, O lord of darkness, we can still change picks. We were going to get Dre Kirkpatrick
(Sounds of an explosion rock the war room)
Adams: What the
Devil me was that?!
Mike Munchak (sniffs carefully): What is that? Sulfur?
Adams: No, I had tacos for lunch today.
Munchak: No, this is different. (sniffs again) My god...it's meth!
Minion: I'll be damned.
Adams: Too late.
Minion: Finnegan's meth lab must have finally gone up. I knew we shouldn't have let him go to St. Louis and leave it unattended!
(The meth grows stronger, the scent more acrid, until...)
Adams: I don't want Kirkpatrick. Get Vontaze Burfict instead. (Laughs maniacally)
(Munchak, Minion, and Webster join in laughter)
Webster: Yes...your obnoxiousness.
ESPN Set, Radio City Music Hall - 9:47 p.m. EDT
Berman: And Cordy Glenn goes off the board to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Chris Mortensen: Boomer, I just got a report that the NFL has just now given Cordy Glenn a four-game suspension for violating the substance abuse policy.
Berman: You're kidding! He just got drafted.
Mortensen: According to my ultra-secret
original recipe sources, whoever was picked by the Bengals was going to get a four-game suspension. Apparently, the league expected that regardless of who the Bengals chose, they would run afoul of the substance abuse policy. Dre Kirkpatrick's suspension is already in the works.
Berman: How about that? Up next are the Cleveland Browns. Since nobody cares about them, we'll go to a commercial and be back with a more interesting team's pick.
Producer: And we're clear.
Kiper (returns to his seat, out of breath): Sorry about that guys.
Kiper: What? What's that look for?
(The rest of the ESPN crew turns their chairs to Kiper)
Mortensen: Mel, this is an intervention. We're worried about you and this addiction you have to hair gel.
Kiper: What? I-I don't even...
Berman: Save us the bluster, Mel. We just want to help.
Kiper: I don't need help! I can stop using product whenever I want!
Berman: Then how about now?
Kiper: I don't want to stop right now. (He looks around) Oh, god, I need help!
(The ESPN crew gather around Kiper in a massive group hug, being careful to avoid contact with Kiper's hair)
Berman: It's going to be okay. We'll call the Hair Club for Men Clinic after the show.
Kiper (sobbing): Thanks, guys.
Pittsburgh Steelers War Room - 10:00 p.m. EDT
General Manager Kevin Colbert: We've got our pick ready.
Art Rooney II: I see. Does he meet the criteria necessary for playing on our storied franchise?
Colbert: I think so. We had planned on taking Vontaze Burfict until Tennessee snaked him from us.
Rooney: Is he a diva of such massive proportions that he'd make Terrell Owens look humble?
Rooney: Does he have sufficiently questionable morals that we would, from time to time, have to pay plaintiffs and the authorities to make criminal cases go away?
Rooney: Does he play dirty, to the point where we have to worry about him actually killing a player on the field with one of his cheap hits?
Colbert: Um...no. He's actually plays clean. I thought he'd make a good counterbalance to James Harrison.
Rooney: The pick is not approved. He must meet all three guidelines!
Colbert (glumly): Yes, sir.
Denver Broncos War Room - 10:11 p.m. EDT
Peyton Manning: That's our guy. Just fell into our laps. I love it! Go get Michael Floyd.
Head Coach John Fox: You like him? Then we'll go ahead and grab him.
Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy: Wait a minute! I'm the offensive coordinator and I want Stephen Hill.
(Manning walks calmly over to McCoy and repeatedly bitch-slaps him until McCoy is on the floor)
Manning: Who did you say you wanted again?
McCoy (tears streaking down his face): Michael Floyd, please.
Manning: That's right, you do!
Fox (puts his arm around Manning): Whatever Peyton wants, Peyton gets.
Manning: Don't touch me.
Fox (abruptly removes his arm): Yes, sir.
Houston Texans Draft Party - 10:23 p.m. EDT
Radio Host Rich Lord: Hi I'm Ri--
Josh Innes: Rich, have you ever wondered what it'd be like to be naked in a pit of iguanas?
Lord: --ch Lord...what?
Innes: I think about it all the time. You know what else I think of all the time? How many times a day I get it on with my girlfriend. Do you want to know?
Innes: I'll tell you anyway. More than I can count. Did you know my dad used to be in radio?
Lord: I'm not surp--
Innes: And back to me now. The Houston Texans, who I don't think are all that impressive despite their record, are now on the clock. Rich, who do you think they're going to take with their first pick?
Lord: Well, let's ask Mark Van--
Innes: Too slow, gotta get back to me and some mundane irrelevancy that only interests me. And now, I'll sing Barry Manilow's greatest hits.
Lord: You've lost your mind, hav--
Innes: Okay, on one, two, three: VIIIIIIIDOR TALES! You can't lose what you never had, Richard.
Lord: Speaking of losing things--shut up, Josh--
(Innes closes gaping mouth)
Lord (cont'd.): Speaking of losing things, has anybody seen John McClain?
Deep in the Bowels of Reliant Stadium - 10:25 p.m. EDT
John McClain: We're gonna have some fun, ain't we? You know I'm your biggest fan in the history of ever, right?
(McClain pulls gag out of bound man's mouth)
Robert Griffin III: Please, sir, I'll do whatever you want, just please let me go. I have a fiance that's worried sick about me.
McClain (sits on Griffin's lap): You did such great things for Baylor. You sure you don't want to go back? (lovingly strokes Griffin's cheek) I know they'd be excited to have you back. I know I'd be excited to have you back, Robert.
Griffin III: Please. Let me go. I was supposed to be in New York hours ago. Also, you're crushing me.
McClain: You have no idea what it's like to be crushed! Since you don't want to go back to Baylor, and I can't imagine why you wouldn't want to go back, then you will demand a trade to my favorite team.
Griffin III: The Texans?
McClain: Don't be ridiculous. The Titans, of course.
Griffin III: And if I don't?
McClain (puts on ratty brown wig and picks up a sledgehammer): I can't let you go to Washington, Robert. I have to save you (lifts sledgehammer high overhead).
(Doors fling open)
McClain: Wh-who are you?
Man Clad in Black: Mr. Snyder sends his regards.
Houston Texans Draft Party - 10:32 p.m. EDT
(Crowd falls into silence as two groups come onto the field at the stadium. The Stephen Hill supporters are in gold and white paint, the Coby Fleener supporters in scarlet. The sound of Scottish bagpipes fills the stadium.)
Hill Supporter: Today I see a whole army of Stephen Hill fans here in defiance of tight end tyranny. You've come to fight as Texans fans. And Texans fans you are. What will you do with that fandom? Will you fight?
Young Hill Supporter: Fight? Against that? (gestures at Fleener supporters) No, we will run, and we will make snarky comments!
Hill Supporter: Aye, fight and you may die. Flee, and you'll spend every day from this to the last wishing you could come back here and tell our enemies that they make take our lives, but the Texans will never take Coby Fleener!
(Hill crowd roars)
Gold Leader: Hill gu brath!
(Both Hill and Fleener crowds converge as punches, chairs are thrown, words are exchanged, and in some cases, epic slapfights)
Goodell (on television): With the 26th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select: Nick Perry, linebacker, USC.
(Both gold and scarlet-clad groups throw down their weapons and freeze in mid-slap)
Hill and Fleener Crowds: What?!
(Hill and Fleener supporters throw down their weapons in disgust, retract outward-bound slaps, and mutter incoherent apologies)
Young Fleener Supporter: Good pick.
NFL Network Set, Radio City Music Hall - 10:33 p.m. EDT
Eisen: Nick Perry is gone. We now turn to our own Michael Lombardi for his take on the pick.
Lombardi: Rich, this is probably the worst pick in the history of the draft. They had all kinds of opportunities to take Stephen Hill or Coby Fleener and instead went defense again for the fourth straight year. I don't know, maybe they're not Super Bowl bound after all. I never thought they were all that good to begin with, and this only confirms it.
Eisen: You make a good point. This was a kind of bad pick.
Lombardi: What, are you kidding? I love this pick. It'll probably go down as one of the greatest picks in this franchise's history. I think they could win it all this year and Perry will have a lot to do with it. I've said all along I believe this team is in for a special year.
Eisen: Huh. We'll be right back with the Patriots pick after this.
Producer: And we're out.
Eisen: Okay, Mike, what the hell was that? You can't have two opposing opinions on the same pick within 30 seconds of each other! You trying to confuse the viewers?
Lombardi: Yes. It's a way of getting bigger ratings.
Eisen: Says who?
Lombardi: Says this book I'm reading.
Eisen: You can read?
Lombardi: Yep. It's called "Learning to Argue Using Intellectual Dishonesty" by Skip Bayless. Available at soulless bookstores everywhere.
Eisen: Greaaaaaaaat. (sotto voce) This is why I left ESPN.
ESPN Set, Radio City Music Hall 11:04 p.m. EDT
Berman (Kiper sitting curled up in his lap): Well, that's the end of round one of the 2012 NFL Draft. We'll have our minor celebrities on tomorrow for rounds two and three because we can't be bothered for the rest of the draft. Good night everybody!