Part of what makes being a sports fan so fun is the acceptance that in our own way, we’re completely delusional about our teams.That fact is never more evident than at this week’s NFL Draft. And while you might think it’s an event filled with negativity based on what’s become an annual tradition of booing the shit out of the commissioner for 10 straight minutes, the fact is, the NFL Draft is the one time during the NFL calendar where every fanbase goes home happy. Because as we’ve seen, one transformative player can make a huge difference in just one year. So what if a player had a Chinese exchange student doing his homework, has three children and was caught naked at a party with a cucumber stuck up his ass? KID’S GOT 4.3 SPEED, IT’S GONNA BE OUR YEAR! Football is the best.
So to help celebrate the official kickoff of the NFL season, I present a number of things that will help throw a draft party worthy of even a Jets fan’s blind optimism:
1.) Your own mock draft
The beauty of the Internet is that you can basically formulate a relatively well-informed mock draft in about the time it takes you to fill out a March Madness bracket. A YouTube clip here, a website there, and voila, you’re basically Mel Kiper Jr. with (presumably) better hair. I actually picked two correct players for the Packers once and spent the next six months wondering if I had missed my calling as an NFL GM.
2.) A punching bag
One of the underrated things about the draft is watching a GM out-think himself into believing he can find a steal by drafting a player two rounds too soon. If you’ve been a Raider fan for any part of the last 30 years, you know what I’m talking about. But it’s not so funny when it happens to your team. So to help take out some of the frustration of seeing your team select a long snapper from the Rhode Island Culinary Academy in the 2nd round, invest in a free standing punching bag. Or at least some decent pillows.
3.) A War Room
This is otherwise known as a living room. Now, I have no idea why they call it a War Room since for the most part, it consists mainly of old white guys talking on the telephone, but still. A proper War Room must consist of comfortable seating and an arrangement capable of withstanding significant Doritos shrapnel and remote control projectiles. And, unlike Super Bowl parties, the Draft is only for real football soldiers — i.e. NO WOMEN OR KIDS.
4.) Shitloads of prop bets
Where some see the Draft as just a bunch of guys walking on stage to put on a hat, the real appeal is all the storylines:
- Which player will hug/touch genitalia with the Roger Goodell the longest?
- Who will have the hottest girlfriend/wife?
- What player will inexplicably be wearing a $75,000 diamond-encrusted tie made from the fur of a bengal tiger?
These are all important questions. And because it’s sports, there’s only one real way to have them answered: By wagering large sums of money on them.
5.) Proper food
Here’s the difference with NFL Draft cuisine. During a Super Bowl party, you’re essentially limited to only food you don’t actually need to look at to eat. People need to be able to locate a chicken wing without ever taking their eyes off the TV. But the Draft? Way more classy. You’ve got a full five minutes between picks, so food that requires things like utensils or napkins and what not are totally acceptable.
6.) A designated area to run the 40
After hearing draft analysts talk about how fast players run the 40 in for six hours, it’s only human nature that you’ll want to try it yourself. To minimize potential hurling or drunkenly running through your neighbor’s picture window, I suggest limiting alcohol consumption beforehand. Also, aim to have two buddies run against each other. See also: Prop bets.
7.) A glossary of draft terminology
I’m quite certain NFL Draft analysts make up new words every year just to make themselves sound smarter. Would I do the same thing? Of course. “I’m telling you, this kid’s got real unicorn speed.” So to help you follow along and eliminate any potential confusion (or concern) when someone uses the words “sticky hands” and a “good caboose” in the same sentence, it’s good to stay up to date on the latest buzzwords.
One thing every fan loves is when a draft pick pans out, being able to smugly say, “I saw him play in college.” It’s the equivalent of saying you knew a popular band when they were underground. Sure, it’s kind of dickish, but then again, SUCH SUPERIORITY. But for those of you with real jobs, it’s kind of hard to spend six hours a day breaking down YouTube clips. Fortunately, networks like ESPN and the NFL Network hire
Indonesian slave labor interns to do all that for you. But what if you can’t pause? Or rewind? There go all your bragging rights. Get a DVR.
9.) A fast (and stable) internet connection
If your living room doesn’t look like the mission control room at NASA, you have failed as an NFL Draft observer. Laptops, iPads and smartphones are all mandatory technology. Besides, what good is watching a sporting event if you can’t bitch about it on the Internet? That’s why as a host, it’s your responsibility to make sure your connection is capable of handling a substantial amount of tumor-causing WiFi data. Because if it’s one thing that gets people really worked up during the draft, it’s being 30 seconds late on a clever tweet. Plan accordingly.
As I’ve mentioned before, the NFL Draft is the pinnacle of nearly any fan’s optimism for the season. Over the course of the next few months, players will get arrested, they’ll get injured, they’ll get out of shape and they’ll get talked into thinking their contract sucks by their agent. Thus begins the downward spiral for many fan bases. So on this night, live it up Cardinals fans. Cleveland fans and Jets fans. You’re undefeated. And with enough bubbly and a decent draft pick, you could even convince yourself that next season, just might be different.