March is a great time of year.
Normally snow is melting and spring is closing in. School is starting to wind down and the end is in sight. Baseball season is starting up and the NBA and NHL seasons are heating up with their playoff races.
So why do I get frustrated every time I watch ESPN or visit its Web site?
It’s because the NFL has infiltrated March and April with the most overhyped event in sports, the NFL Draft.
At a time when no games will be played and instead of focusing on something important, such as playoffs in other sports, the draft takes over.
Pretty soon, Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay are everywhere. They become almost as important to sports fans as Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols, who are actually playing games in March and April.
By the time the draft is over, one may be so sick of hearing names such as Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez that it becomes a distinct possibility that you might swear off sports for the rest of your life.
This event is so drawn out and poured over that no stone is ever left unturned. But who wants it that way?
I realize some people are huge football fans and that some in this sentence means a lot of people. But if someone is that big of a fan, they should have no problem visiting the ESPN Web site to look this information up themselves.
But I don’t just blame ESPN for this. The NFL shares some of the blame.
First of all, the draft is strategically located right at a point of time when the NFL becomes the least important sport.
I understand the business side of this, but is it really necessary for football to horn in on airtime like this? Is football that big of a deal that it can’t take a back seat for half the year when their season is over?
All of the other major sports let football steal the spotlight from August to February. Their drafts are all during the summer and all three combined don’t generate the publicity the NFL does.
Why are they not as important?
Because the draft can mean very little. The draft is a time of opportunity but it is equally a time of disappointment.
Over the last 10 years or so, people such as Tim Couch, Courtney Brown and David Carr have become household names because of their supposed upside in the NFL. But in these cases that upside hasn’t been seen. Instead, these guys have made a ton of money for setting back their franchises back decades.
This demonstrates the largest injustice of this whole ordeal. All of these guys became filthy rich because of this.
This year, Matthew Stafford received roughly $41.7 million in guaranteed money without ever having played a down in the NFL. That’s more guaranteed money than reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Albert Haynesworth received from the Redskins after having posted one of the greatest seasons ever on the defensive side of the ball.
Next year, according to ESPN.com, the top pick in the draft is supposed to get around $50 million guaranteed. By the year 2020, the player picked first is slated to receive around $100 million. For a franchise to spoend that much money on a rookie is ridiculous.
Tell me why someone should make so much money on the possibility that this guy could be good. It’s ridiculous that someone can make so much money off potential when the other 99 percent of America has to work for rest of their lives.
These two months are supposed to be one of the better times for sports, but instead of capitalizing on everything the other three sports are accomplishing, ESPN allows football to steal the spotlight.
Bill Hopkins is a freshman sports communication major from Oswego. He is the Scout sports editor.
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