Alan Greenspan might be pleased to know his term ‘irrational exuberance’ (originally referred to the stock market bubble of the late 1990s) lives on and is now used in a variety of contexts. For the purposes of this post, my babbling brain will use the term ‘irrational exuberance’ to describe the period of time shortly before an NFL draft happens any given year.
These days ardent fans of the NFL live by a year-round calendar. The Super Bowl is the boundary line from one season to the next. The NFL Combine is the first major event, followed by the NFL Draft at the end of April/early May. Throw in some OTAs, a couple of mini camps and then it’s dead quiet (you hope) until training camp starts.
From a fan perspective, the NFL Draft provides endless amounts of grist to obsess about when actual football games that count are still months away. The art and science of mock drafting is at a whole new level now, and it consumes the hearts and minds of NFL fans around the world.
But, this week… draft week… it’s the football equivalent of Mardi Gras on steroids.
All rational thought is suspended while the gods of tomfoolery emerge with conspiracy theories galore. We endlessly opine about draft picks, moving up, moving down, making trades and most notably which team is going to draft said player. There are Big Boards constructed with the amount of detail you would need to engineer two fully functional space ships.
Social media is choked with mock drafts… we judge them and repudiate them with the kind of fervor you see when a mother goes ‘mama bear’ on someone making a snide remark about their child. ‘Street cred’ on the internet is broken when a player ends up as a bust. Credibility is won or lost based on long term projections of any given athlete. It’s legitimate insanity and that is why we love it.
Furthermore, the pontificating that goes on for 48 hours after any given draft regarding which teams ‘won’ or ‘lost’ a draft are guaranteed to melt your brain if you try to make sense of it all. Never mind the reality is that it takes at least three seasons to have enough supporting evidence to declare a player as a bust. And please… while we’re at it… let those who moaned about drafting Josh Allen at the time remember the feeling of getting it so wrong. Let that guide what emanates from your mouth the next time you want to call a guy trash before playing a down in the NFL.
The Josh Allen example should serve to remind us all there’s a lot more to picking the right quarterback than focusing on their NFL Combine times and accuracy percentages. Every year we get mesmerized by the shiny new toys each team selects in the draft… but nothing is more outrageous than the amount of mis/disinformation launched into cyberspace in the days leading up to any given draft.
The term ‘blarney’ doesn’t quite capture the level of irrationality we generally see late in the pre-draft period. There will be lies. There will be blatant lies. The entire NFL world will be full of lies leading right up to the moment fans stop booing Roger Goodell on stage in Las Vegas.
Also, there’s been literally thousands of simulated mock drafts generated, digested and re-digested by BillsMafia since last season abruptly ended in late January. Now we are down to the wire working ourselves into a frenzy of last minute trading up or down rumors. The 2022 NFL Draft is about to happen and this Bills team is nearly naked at the cornerback position. Theories abound about how this first round will play out for the Buffalo Bills.
What will Brandon Beane do?
This is a good week to listen carefully and believe nothing, especially coming from the mouth of a general manager with a face of stone. Isaiah McKenzie may be ‘the face of the franchise’, but Mr. Beane’s stone face belongs on the Buffalo Bills equivalent of Mount Rushmore. We’re talking granite level stone face.
Even Miss Cleo is mystified by Mr. Beane’s crafty ways. It’s been said draft week was her favorite event of the NFL calendar year. The fortune telling business has been brisk, and we all know how Miss Cleo used to say there’s no week like draft week in the NFL.
So pull up your knickers and get ready to find out literally no one you wanted the Bills to draft ends up on their roster a week from now ;)
Editor’s babble: Find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO at your own risk.