Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Dave's Weekend in Review

by Dave Schmitt - Special Guest Columnist

Finally, as promised, a review of last Saturday’s NFL Draft festivities. My dream is to actually go see the draft live at MSG, but since my buddy who works for the NFL doesn’t even know how to get tickets, that idea was put on hold. So anyway….as a season-ticket holder, Ellen’s dad gets a Giants newsletter every so often. In the most recent one, Ellen saw an ad for a Draft party at Giants Stadium. We thought it might be cool, so after debating if the $20 to get in was worth, we thought what the hell. Ellen’s dad was working at it, so there was definitely the potential of shady but amusing things happening.

We got there around 11:30, and walked up to the ticket window. As we’re about to buy tickets, 4 guys come up to us from behind and offer us 2 free. They said they were sent 8 tickets by accident, and so they gave 2 to us and 2 to the people behind us on line. Awesome, saved $200 Dave. They gave us a program on the way in, and it had the details of the day. Most of the activity took place in the “bubble,” an indoor practice facility next to the Stadium. They had people there from the sports radio station MCing the event, and they interviewed old players (Carl Banks, Harry Carson, Joe Morris, O.J. Anderson, etc.) throughout the day. The draft was shown on many big-screen TVs set up in the bubble, and they had tables and chairs throughout, plus food. It was amusing every time there was a lull in the action – the radio guy would ask the crowd who they wanted the Giants to pick, and he’d shout out names. Eli Manning actually got booed before the draft, figuring they’d give up too much to get him. Most of the crowd wanted Gallery. Also, much top-notch fashion was on display. And by “fashion,” I mean “trashy Jersey women with huge hair and Jeremy Shockey jersey-dresses.” Yes, they make football jersey dresses. I appreciated the families that had every member wearing Shockey jerseys. Way to be good models for the kids. Good, good.

We stayed in the bubble until after the trade excitement happened, and then checked out the other events. First, we hit the locker room tour. Ellen scared the crap out of every single person on line when she flipped out upon seeing Lance Legrees’ and Luke Petitgout’s lockers. Foaming-at-the-mouth crazy. She was excited that they had ND issue gear in their lockers, but that paled in comparison to the excitement of seeing that Luke’s locker has a special Phil Simms plaque above it. Talk about your double-whammy.

Next, we went out onto the field. It has field turf. That’s some weird shit. There were games for kids, and a pretty good cover band playing in one corner. They let you walk all over the field, toss a football, do whatever. I laid out on the grass and watched the draft on the jumbotrons. After a little while of hanging out on the field, Ellen’s dad called and told her that he was just informed Eli Manning was on his way over. So of course we had to stay and see what type of “face” he would make. I like Kanka’s description of his face after the Chargers picked him as the Brian Cashman “holy crap this is working out terribly for me” Face. Well done. Anyway, Eli came out, along with his posse consisting of Archie, Mom, some agent-looking guys, and (naturally) his smokin’-hot girlfriend. Peyton did not make the trip. The radio guy interviewed him in front of everyone, and he put on a Giants jersey for the first time. He was using a microphone, and you could still barely hear him. Very quiet guy. One funny moment occurred when the radio guy said, “since you’re now a Giant, you have an intense hatred for the Philadelphia Eagles, right?” Eli replied meekly, “Yes.” He also asked about the ‘Skins and Cowboys, and they got the same quiet response. A really fun day.

On the draft itself: I don’t fault the Giants for going after Manning. They weren’t too keen on signing Collins long-term, so you can’t pass up a guy who stands a great chance at becoming a top-flight quarterback (he’s a Manning, for God’s sake!) I think the Jets did well, getting Vilma, trading their 2 for Justin McCareins, a good young (I think) 2nd wideout from the Titans, and taking Oklahoma cornerback Derrick Strait (who some had as a 1st-rounder) in the 3rd round. I’m pumped about Julius going high 2nd-round. Everyone killed Parcells for going after the “sixth-rate” (for what that’s worth) tailback, but it looks like he knows what the rest of us know. Troy Hambrick sucks, so I think Julius will definitely be the main guy by his second year. Watson also went higher than expected, and that was good to see. He’s a good player, and a real gamer. I’m also happy for Glenn Earl, who I project will be real nice player. He’s a great hitter, and was involved in just about every big moment of the unfortunate Bob Davie Era.

Transaction Wire

Darrell Campbell will sign a deal with the Bears. This after the Broncos claimed he "decided to break the committment" with Denver. First, Denver knew about the injury. Then, they didn't and didn't want him. Then, after he gave up, they said they'd help him through it.
Ced Hilliard signs with the Cowboys.
Omar Jenkins signs with the Vikings.

Links of Interest

A KankaNation Ripoff?
Courtesy SportsPickle
SportsPickle also made another good point: How bad is Larry Cocker, that with 6 of the first 21 picks, Miami didn't win the championship every year? And how bad was tOSU, that with a record 14 players taken, they couldn't blow out anyone?

That's it for this week. Check back next week for a Kentucky Derby weekend in review.