NFL Draft an exercise in overkill

It’s now official.

The annual National Football League draft has become the second-highest rated football event on television.

Only the Super Bowl, with its inflated coverage for two weeks, now exceeds a procedure that once took barely two days for as many as 17 rounds.

Somewhere, George Halas, Paul Brown and Vince Lombardi must be shaking their heads in disapproval.

One record the draft did establish, without question, was the number of commercials shown. The ads came at viewers after every single selection with monotonous regularity.

I firmly believe the NFL Draft has now surpassed the Ryder Cup as the most overrated sporting event on the tube. In the words of one sports commentator, the Ryder Cup “matches spoiled millionaires from the U.S. against spoiled millionaires from Europe.”

The NFL draft has so many blotches on it, it would take two or three columns to cover it.

For sake of space, I’ll restrict it to just a few, however.

1. The endless speculation before the draft by an army of so-called experts. Most of these icons (Mike Mayock, Mel Kiper, etc.) never played a single down of football. Yet, they profess to tell us endlessly which players should be selected.

2. The music, supposedly approved ahead of time by the draftees, played as each selection is made. You would have thought that royalty was being introduced to the sporting public. I half expected to see Barack Obama stroll in to introduce a pick by the Washington Redskins.

3. The drama, and I can’t call it anything else, in the war rooms of the respective teams as they announce their picks. Basketball coaching legend Al McGuire of Marquette University once described sports as “the coffee break of life.” But don’t tell that to the NFL heads behind this extravaganza.

4. The handling of the drafting of Michael Sam. Sure, the University of Missouri product attracted attention with his orientation “coming out” announcement. But the cold, hard fact is that Sam will likely never be more than average player toiling on special teams …. he didn’t warrant the kind of smothering coverage allotted to his drafting. That was simply a case of the electronic media once again overdoing it.

Even the many people who live and breathe football have to be getting tired of this kind of overkill by ESPN and the NFL Network.

I know that I, without doubt, am.