The Media, Grades, and Crap!


The NFL Draft is now over.  For the record, it ended on Sunday April 27th at just before 6:45 pm eastern when Mr. Irrelevent was announced.

By 7:00 pm eastern, sportswriters across the country were busy at work putting the finishing touches on their latest masterpieces that would cover either the winners and losers of the draft or the grades that they wanted to hand out to every NFL team.

Please keep reading after the jump.  It took a long time to write this.  I had to.  The boss said I had to write something to wrap up the draft.

It might sound a little cliche’ to say it but a draft can’t be graded until two to three years after the fact.  And the winners and losers?  No one can be sure of those for sometime to come either.

For example, who would have given a passing grade or a tag of “winner” to the Houston Texans two years ago when they chose Mario Williams over Reggie Bush?  Everyone in the country, especially the sportswriters were bashing them at every turn immediately after the pick and for weeks after.  That stopped when Williams had a breakout season in ’07 and Bush started to look the part of an overrated running back.

But that doesn’t stop the educated brains from writing some senseless garbage to sell newspapers and draw visitors to their websites within hours of the end of the draft.

Here is a partial list of this hyperbole:

John Clayton (ESPN)

Clifton Brown (Sporting News) – By the way, the Panthers got an “A-“

John Czarnecki (Fox Sports) – We got a “B+”

Larry Weisman (USA Today) – Another “B+”

Evan Silva (Rotoworld) – We didn’t do so well here…”C”

Dan Wetzel (Yahoo Sports) – The Panthers are “winners”

The LA Times

I’ll never get it, except that these journalism majors would all be fired if they didn’t write something for Monday’s edition that would spark some interest, sell some papers and create hits on their websites.  Fail to do that…BAM!  The editor fires your sorry butt!

Thanks for the grades/winner/loser categorization (we uneducated bloggers use some big ol’ words too!) but I think I’d prefer to wait for it.  Let’s see how these 252 players do when they at least make it to training camp and then we’ll start handing out some grades!

But there is one thing I’ll be glad to grade or place a winning or losing tag on – the two networks covering the draft.

I started on Saturday watching round one on ESPN (the Yankees/Red Sox/Cowboys channel) and, for some reason, got that same old feeling.  You know the one – your drunk uncle has come by the house to start making up stupid nicknames for you and giving you noogies all day.  And his annoying wife (the one who married into the family when she became his eighth wife) keeps telling you how you should be doing everything – “You’re going to burn the meat! Those curtains don’t go with that paint!  I don’t know why you don’t dust more often in here!”

You guessed it – Chris Berman plays the uncle and Mel Kiper, Jr plays the aunt.

I like Melly-Mel-Mel-Hairy-Chin-Chin Kiper. (I can make up stupid freakin’ nicknames too, Berman!)  He’s insightful on occasion and even gets a call right once in a while.  (“There’s no way the Chiefs pass on Sedrick Ellis here!  He’s definitely the pick!…Oh, crap!  They took Glenn Dorsey??  Oh my God!  They are so stupid!  If they don’t agree with me they have to be wrong!”)

As for Berman – there was a time when Eric “Sleeping With” Bienemy was funny.  And I really enjoyed the chant of “Primetime!  Primetime! Primetime!” between Berman and Tom Jackson during Deion Sanders’ playing days.  Only, there has to be a limit, right?  Doesn’t the drunk uncle have to go home sometime when his jokes aren’t funny anymore?

So, Sunday I switched to the NFL Network for rounds three through seven.  I found a guy that I think I can replace Kiper with permanently – Mike Mayock.  He might not be anymore or any less knowledgeable of the players, necessarily.  That’s not at issue.  What is at issue – he’s not so loud, obnoxious and acting like a nervous cat looking for a dog to argue with like Kiper.  That’s a win for the NFL Network.

Next, I always liked Rich Eisen when he was one of the few personable anchors on ESPN (before they fell in love with the Patriots’ nether-regions).  He seems like an affable, loose host who wasn’t taking his job too seriously but lacked one very important trait – the one where he tags every player with a stupid freakin’ nickname and shouts from beginning to end of the event, “WELCOME BACK TO RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL AND ESPN’S COVERAGE OF THE NFL DRAFT!!!  THE ROCKETTES COULDN’T BE FOUND!!  I THINK I ATE ALL OF THEM OR SOMETHING!!  I’M GOING TO SHOUT UNTIL I’M UNABLE TO SPEAK SOMETIME LATER THIS EVENING SO MEL WILL HAVE AN EXCUSE TO TALK MORE!!  AND TAKE THOSE DAMNED CLIPS OF ME CURSING DOWN OFF OF YOUTUBE!!!”

Eisen seemed to understand one thing – this is sports and it’s not terribly serious yet it’s not about talking down to the viewer.  That’s yet another win for the NFL Network.

When comparing the other guys…Steve Young versus Jamie Dukes…that’s a tough one.  Really tough.  I’m taking Young…no wait…I’m taking Dukes.  Forget it!

I’m not breaking it down that far, sorry.  But I think I’m officially done with ESPN’s coverage of the draft.  I had to watch a tiny little media box online to see the draft but it was worth it.  Besides, you couldn’t have fit Mel Kiper’s hair in that little box, anyway!

Random thought:  Is Mel Kiper, Jr. somehow related to former Cowboys’ coach Jimmy Johnson?  Or is he in some twisted way, Johnson’s love child?  I mean, look at that hair!  They need to go “green!”  Both of them!  Or they need to co-star in the new production of “Hairspray!”