April 24, 2008

Why Hello Soapbox, Don't Mind If I Do...

"For weeks now, leading up to the real NFL draft this weekend, all sorts of self-appointed experts have been creating so-called mock drafts, and basically, they're all the same...Mock drafts become the reality that reality must accommodate itself to. It's like in school now, where children study how to take tests rather than study how to learn something."
- Frank Deford
First off, let me just say - in no way would I ever mean any disrespect to Frank Deford. He's a legendary sports columnist and at least 50 times smarter than I'll ever be. But when I read his article titled "Technology Has Ruined the NFL Draft," I kind of felt obligated to pen this reaction.

Now, I don't know when Deford went to school. Probably long before things like the telephone and horse and buggy were invented. But by my account, I'm not sure I've ever been taught anything in school simply to learn it. It has always been about how to take tests. Doesn't mean I like it. Frankly, I think it's BS. But as much as I might like to, I don't, nor can't, control the way education is structured in this crazy world we live in (Domski, on the other hand, has the inside track...).

Anyway, I apologize from taking a step back from the draft talk here. But when I read these stories from well known columnists pooh-poohing bloggers and at least in this case, technology (read: progress) in general, it kind of makes me sad. I mean, I understand the prestige that most prominent members of the media hold. But just because someone hasn't covered something for 40 years, that doesn't mean they can't unleash their opinion on the world and discuss it with others. That's uniquely American, is it not? We're all about freedom of press, freedom of speech and freedom to piss wherever you like (oh wait, that's not right), are we not?

That said, in this instance I actually happen to agree with the wet blanket, Deford, in one respect. I think mock drafts are for the birds. But just as bloggers are guilty of engaging in this kind of ridiculous speculation, so are many members of the media machine itself. And frankly, I think it's all equally moot. As Deford points out -
"Some bloviator might have this linebacker going third and that one pegs him fourth, but it's pretty much the same names at the top. The fans get brainwashed, and so if their team should dare take somebody who wasn't touted by the echo chorus, they have a fit."
This is precisely how mock drafts work. Some dude (blogger or otherwise) arbitrarily decides that the Rams are going to pick Tim Bugg, Longsnapper from Indiana, and voila! The Rams nation (maybe this was the wrong example to use) jumps right on the bandwagon. "Oh yeah, Bugg is sick. Did you see that snap in the Illinois game? He put the ball right where he was supposed to. Championship!"

Anyhow, just because both I and the great and powerful Frank Deford don't much care for mock drafts, that doesn't mean that others can't. In fact, it's pretty clear that the vast majority of routine NFL blog readers love them. And more power to them. This is just an extension of why the interweb is the best thing since sliced bread. If you want to find a blog dedicated to loving Buffalo Grouper sandwiches, I'll bet it's out there (and if not, I'm starting it). Whatever you want is there for your amusement.

I guess what I'm saying is - contrary to the premise of Deford's well reasoned article - technology has not ruined anything. In reality, it has made getting the information you want much easier. Besides, before the days when interweb draft pundits ruled the earth, wasn't there plenty of speculation in the newspaper? Magazines? Radio? TV? I mean Mel Kiper has been doing his thing for at least the last 18 years. Has he not?

So you guys tell me - has technology ruined the draft for YOU? Because after all, it's really all about you, isn't it? (Boy, T.O. would love me for saying that...)


PS - Don't forget - Saturday @ 3 PM, everyone. gets. laid. OFTOT is holding it's 1st annual "let's watch everyone but the Browns draft" extravaganza/discussion thread. 'Twill be just like our gameday discussions from last season. That is to say, a blast. So be here or be a Bengals fan (and we'll excuse your absence because you're probably hanging out with Chris Henry in jail).

PPS - OFTOT is now on Facebook. Become a fan...or else.


The Immortal Silky Johnson said...

Frank Deford and Bob Costas hate the bloggers! I believe that they are engaging in collusion to keep the blogosphere (is that how one spells that?) down.

P.S. Knibb High Football Rules!

domski43 said...

cotter, you would be the first president who sports the gayhawk hairstyle....i'm not sure if america is ready.

i put media draft experts/speculators in the same category as weathermen (but its fun to read/hear)

long live the internets!

Cotter said...

In hindsight, I think Domski was right when he emailed me last night about this - I'm really just angry at finals, not Frank Deford.

Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

Hopefully, I will be drunk by 3 p.m., but go ahead, don't wait, you can get started without me.

tobiathan said...

I like the point about creating a consensus of expectation via so many nearly-identical projections. Fans should have faith in their teams. Being disappointed by a draft pick before he ever suits up is a little self-defeating i think...