With the Draft in Prime Time, Local Sports Bars Will Be Busy Like Fall Sundays
Bring on the 2011 NFL Draft!
When last seen, NFL fans were at Super Bowl parties, paying at least as much attention to the chips and dip and keg as the game, and now it’s time for them to emerge from their winter caves and again let themselves be seen and heard.
The NFL draft is their playing field, and it provides the perfect off-season party platform to cheer for their favorite teams and, of course, jeer at the hated rival.
It’s held prime time on TV, and provides supporters the chance to gather just as if it were the regular season or playoffs. And, as those fans know, what happens the last weekend of April will most definitely affect how their teams perform on Sundays this fall (assuming the labor issues have been resolved by that time) and well into the future.
Here’s the 2010 NFL Draft Schedule (all times EDT):
• Round 1, Thursday, April 28 – 8 p.m.
• Rounds 2-3, Friday, April 29 – 6 p.m.
• Rounds 4-7, Saturday, April 30, noon
Fans in New York City can go to Radio City Music Hall to watch the draft in person – and that would be a really cool experience – but for everyone else the place to gather is the local sports bar. Wear the jersey, put on the eye black, take the Terrible Towels and grab some Buds, because this is as good as it gets until the players actually get on the field.
In fact, fans will pretty much have to go to a bar to watch it, for the draft is only on the NFL Network this year, not ESPN. And who gets the NFL Network!? (ESPN will, of course, be at the draft and providing non-stop, or so it may seem, live analysis.)
So what’s so exciting about watching the draft? Well, much like the games themselves, there’s the anticipation about the unknown, the confirmation of the known (the past two years, the first pick has signed a contract ahead of the actual draft), the thrills of getting a good player or filling a need and the inevitable “are you kidding ME!” reaction to a head-scratching pick.
And, of course, there’s always the thrill of hoping a rival or hated team will suddenly lose their marbles on draft day and take some obscure player or draft a defensive linemen when what they really need is a running back. This always leads to some high fives and clanging of beer bottles together in a “cheers” moment that only the atmosphere of sports bars can provide.
There’s beer for celebrating and shots for numbing the pain of a poor choice.
In some places, Los Angeles being the best example, fans of several different teams gather in the bars, and it’s entertaining to watch their reactions to their teams’ picks. (It is here that bad picks, or at least questionable ones, are more fun to see than good selections.)
It’s also a great start to a Friday night and a Saturday, providing something entertaining and captivating to watch while pubbling before clubbing.
So don’t fumble and miss this fun time. Your sports bar is poised for this event like a returner awaiting a kickoff.
The 2011 draft order, prior to any trades that ways happen during the day, is: Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, Patriots (yes, again), Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers.