Monday, April 26, 2010

NFL Draft 2010

This past weekend was the NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall, as many of you know. A few weeks ago, we were contacted by the Gotham Gators (the NYC Gator alumni club) with the opportunity to get tickets to the second round of the draft. At that time, it seemed like my beloved Tim Tebow would likely be drafted in the second round, so the official draft peoples (I assume that's what they're called) offered the Gotham Gators a block of seats at the second round of the draft, under the condition that we would all wear Tim Tebow/Gator gear and cheer our fool heads of when he/other Gators were drafted. Done and done.

Eric and I hadn't even considered trying to go to the draft until we got that email from the Gotham Gators. Tickets to the draft are free, but you have to camp out in line, and you know how crazy New Yorkers are with being early for things. I mean, people were camping out Wednesday already, when the draft didn't begin until Thursday night. We just weren't that interested. But this opportunity for guaranteed tickets, with no sleeping on the streets of NYC required, plus some Gators camaraderie sounded pretty good. So we signed ourselves up!

On Thursday I met Eric for lunch at Rockefeller Center, and on my way out there I was able to catch a glimpse of Radio City getting ready for the first round of the draft. They were setting up the red carpet, the works. And of course, there were crazy football fans everywhere. When I passed by at noon, some fans were already camped out by the barricades across the street to watch the red carpet action. New Yorkers, man. They're crazy.

Radio City Music Hall decked out for the draft

Setting up the red carpet

Thursday night, we watched the first round of the draft on TV. This was probably definitely the first time in my life I've ever been even remotely interested in the draft. I assume that comes from becoming increasingly more "into" college football each year, especially during the last four years of the Tebow era. Eric has had quite an impact on my football knowledge, and stalking Heisman candidates/winners for the past two years has helped me know the big names in college football. So, I was actually interested to see where people might be drafted.

Add to the fact that word on the street was my hometown team, the Cleveland Browns, had expressed some interest in my beloved Tim Tebow, and I was riveted. I was convinced that if the Browns drafted Tebow, I might actually fall over dead of happiness.

Sadly, that did not happen, although the Browns did pick up a Florida Gator with their first pick: Joe Haden. Yay! Go Gators! Go Browns!

Joe Haden, a former Gator, drafted by the Cleveland Browns!
(photo taken from here)

Although the Browns did not make my dreams come true by drafting Tim Tebow, Tebow did shock many analysts by being drafted in the first round, 25th overall, by the Denver Broncos. We were so pleased that Tebow proved so many wrong and was the second quarterback drafted, despite so many people saying others would go long before him! Selfishly, I wished he was drafted in the second round so I could be there to cheer for him when his name was called, but that's okay. I enjoyed watching the footage of him celebrating with his family in Jacksonville on TV.

He isn't a Gator anymore, but he'll still be sporting orange and blue!
(photo taken from here)

Unfortunately, I have been reminded that in no uncertain terms can any loyal, self-respecting Browns fan cheer for the Denver Broncos. This goes way back to the days of John Elway and "The Fumble." I am left feeling conflicted and confused. I cannot root against my dear Tim Tebow, but can I turn my back on the Browns? Is it possible to cheer for the quarterback of a team but not the team generally? Maybe Tebow will be to the Broncos what Lebron James has been to the Cavs - our star, incredibly talented, practically unstoppable, but yet no championships for the team. Is that possible? (Geez, being a Cleveland fan is depressing sometimes. Also, I hope Lebron James makes this analogy obsolete this year! Go Cavs!) I will have to find a way to reconcile my conflicting loyalties. Regardless, congratulations, Tim!

On Friday, Eric and I met up to pick up our tickets for the second round from the Gotham Gators around 4:45 p.m. The draft started at 6:00, so we had some time to enjoy the atmosphere and explore the things they had set up inside Radio City. They had some memorabilia from the Football Hall of Fame, the Vince Lombardi trophy and a bunch of Superbowl rings, etc. We did a little wandering around, took some pictures and found our seats. While we were walking around, we got quite a few "Go Gators" comments, and some positive responses from Broncos fans. It seems they are excited about Tim Tebow!

Eric outside Radio City with our draft tickets

Chomping outside Radio City! Go Gators!

Eric with the Vince Lombardi trophy

Inside Radio City

The stage

Eric in front of the action

We're ready for some draft fun!

Our seats were really good - at least, better than any seats we've had for the Radio City Christmas shows we've seen there! We were in the first mezzanine level, four rows back. Our view of the podium was a little obscured by some cameras, since we were right behind the desk/crew (is crew the right word? Analysts? Reporters?) for the NFL Network. But, we were able to see plenty. We also could see the ESPN people to the right. It was funny to be able to watch all of them! You could tell when they were on a commercial break because they would play to the crowds, check their Blackberries, or even pull out a bag of McDonalds for a snack!

View from our seats

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

NFL Network table, including Rich Eisen (left), Brian Billick (middle), and Mike Mayock (right)
(Note: Eric knows these people. I have no idea who they are. I just write what he tells me.)

Four of the five people at the ESPN table: Mel Kiper, Jon Gruden (I do recognize him! He wins!), Steve Young, Tom Jackson
(not pictured: Chris Berman)

VIDEO: The view from our seats

We really had a lot of fun. There was a huge group of Gator fans there, and we were able to see four Gators actually get drafted (Jermaine Cunningham, Carlos Dunlap, Brandon Spikes and Major Wright). Each time they called a Gator player's name, our whole block of seats erupted in cheers, chomps, and chants of "It's Great to be a Florida Gator!" It was great fun. The whole thing was just really an experience - it was very casual and there was lots of waiting around, of course. Then whenever a pick was announced, the crowd would react like crazy, boo-ing, cheering, what have you. We had a very loud, boisterous, "Cleveland-y" Browns fan right by us, which made it fun for me during the Browns picks. Honestly, I saw more Browns fans at the draft than I have EVER seen anywhere (outside of Cleveland, of course). It was great! I was also glad to see the Browns finally pick up Colt McCoy, the quarterback from Texas who has seen me walk into a parked car. I like to imagine that he's very excited about going to Cleveland now because he has seen how graceful and elegant Cleveland girls are. That's likely, right?

The Browns are on the clock, and I'm excited!

VIDEO: Browns draft Colt McCoy

In our seats, enjoying the action

Overall, we had a great time. We stayed until just about the very end of the third round, and we were actually the last Gator fans there! We were so excited to have the chance to do another cool New York-y thing that we never would have thought of. Big thanks to the Gotham Gators for getting us there!

1 comment:

Molly said...

oh wow wiki has a page on the fumble. there's just no escape, is there? go cleveland!