Eric and I met up around 5:30 on Friday night to get in line to claim our tickets for the draft. Much to our delight, we quickly learned that we didn't just have general admission tickets - we had Bud Light VIP tickets! That meant that as we entered Radio City Music Hall, we were ushered up to the first mezzanine level, where we were given gift bags, free Bud Light jerseys, and free food and drinks. Bud Light, I take back my whining about the overpriced drafts at the pre-party. At the draft, as soon as we stepped into that mezzanine lobby, there were lines of employees just waiting to hand us free beer. They had three bars (all with free Budweiser, wine and pop) and three buffet stations with a variety of food - fried chicken, delicious sandwiches, pizza, pasta salad, chicken skewers, etc. Needless to say, we ate and drank a little bit!
Eric is loaded down with free stuff in the Bud Light VIP area!
Sporting my VIP "credentials"
Lines of people that want to give you free beer
One of several food buffets
Our seats were pretty good, too. We were towards the back of the section, but we still had a great view of the action and could see all the TV commentators.
The view inside Radio City Music Hall as soon as we walked into our section
The NFL Network crew
Mel Kiper, Jr., John Gruden and Chris Berman from ESPN
Having fun at the draft!
It was really fun when people who were actually at the draft were drafted. As their name was called, we could see all sorts of commotion off stage to the right, and then the new recruit would come out to the stage all happy and excited and pose for pictures with the commissioner. Then his entire entourage would crowd onto the stage, sporting hats of their guy's new team, posing for pictures and hugging. What a great moment they must have been having!
See the guy with his fingers in the air? That's Rahim Moore from UCLA, who just got drafted by the Broncos.
Rahim Moore hugging Commissioner Goodell on stage
Randall Cobb from Kentucky greeting Jim Taylor and Roger Goodell after being drafted by the Packers
Randall Cobb's entourage taking over the stage!
We also got to see a few other notable football players, usually as they helped announce the picks for their team: Paul Warfield (Go Browns!), Jevon Kearse (Go Gators!), Doug Williams, Jim Taylor, and John Lynch (among others, I'm sure, but that's all I have pictures of).
Paul Warfield announcing the Browns' pick
Jevon Kearse being interviewed
Doug Williams at the podium
John Lynch being interviewed
We also took a break from the draft action to wander around a bit and take in the atmosphere.
Draft attendees milling about the lobby
Vince Lombardi trophy on display
Super Bowl rings on display at the base of the trophy
We stopped to have some fun in the photo booth they had set up, where you could have your photo taken "on the stage" (really, in front of a green screen) holding up the jersey of your team of choice. I'm so glad the Browns finally drafted someone who will take them all the way to the Super Bowl this year:
Yeah! Go Brownies!
Way to go, Eric - drafted by his hometown team, the Bucs!
After that, we hung out a little while longer, and drank a little more beer. Then we called it a night. On the way home, we were treated to a lovely view of the Empire State Building towering over Bryant Park, looking quite dashing in blue, white and red in honor of the Royal Wedding that morning. Even the ESB had Royal Wedding fever!
And thus concludes our epic football week! Not to worry, all you non-football-loving types. All of our celebrity encounters last week were not limited to athletes, and tomorrow I'll be sharing some more "gleeful" celeb sightings with you!