Pretty much everyone that I interact with on a daily basis loves the NFL.
I work at a sports talk radio station that is the flagship for the local NFL team. I am on Twitter for a huge chunk of the day conversing with NFL fans. I talk to my sons (who live in Chicago) on a nightly basis, and they pretty much own Under Armour and NFL jerseys, and that's it.
Hell, my girlfriend is an original Houston Texans season ticket holder, by God. So I am around NFL lovers all day and all night.
And yet to a man (and woman), there's not a single person that I've talked to in the past month who has thought the extra two weeks leading up to the draft this year have been anything but a mind-numbing barrage of smokescreens and useless blather. If the NFL is trying to stretch the calendar out to expand its chronological reach, the strategy is backfiring.
That said, ratings tonight will probably be through the roof, which means we better get used to the blather barrage. There is one solution to all of this -- alcohol.
To that end, I am proud to unveil this year's NFL Draft BATTLE-DRINK BINGO drinking game board.
In some ways, the NFL Draft is even more conducive to a drinking game like BATTLE-DRINK than a regular season NFL game. For one thing, it's much easier to head into a Friday and weekend with a "drinking game hangover" than it is a Monday. Also, there's not the steady fire hose of emotion on draft night that there is during a three-hour football game, so the drunkenness has no chance of spilling over into rage (unless the Texans mess up the first pick in the draft, which is a distinct possibility).
So, be excited, people! Especially if you took Friday off! Also, keep in mind, if you a) value your liver and b) want to stay upright to see the second day of the draft, that you can play alternate versions of the game:
BATTLE-DRINK SIP: Replace all of the non-sip columns (in this case, GULP, CHUG, SHOTGUN, SHOT) with SIP. That should lighten the load. Under this version of the game, your odds of vomiting are scientifically proven to drop from 100 percent to 81.3 percent.
BATTLE-DRINK LIGHT: Make every square just one sip. This will virtually assure you of making it through the entire game, and reduces your odds of vomiting to 47.9 percent. Again, trust me.
Now, onto the game.... (REMINDER: Print the board NOW, and bring copies to your draft party!)
B1: "Upside" B2: "High motor" B3: "All-22" B4: "Eye test" B5: "Off the field issues" Column B of the game is for the annoying little Drafty McDraftnik phrases that experts like to use in order to show off for their wives and girlfriends. ("Yo baby, I can't talk right now, checking out Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on the All-22. High motor, really passes the eye test. Now go make me a turkey pot pie.")
I1: "Hand size" mention I2: "Fluid hips" mention I3: "Skinny knees" mention I4: "Short arms" mention I5: "Wonderlic score" mention Column I is for physical and mental characteristics that pretty much are only ever mentioned during the build up to the NFL Draft. Hell, they're never even mentioned during actual games! There should be a law that if a physical trait doesn't get mentioned as a reason a play is made (or not made) in a game, then it shouldn't matter on draft night. In other words, I've never heard an announcer show a replay of a touchdown run and remark about a back's "fluid hips." No offensive lineman has ever relinquished a sack and had the color guy say "Well, if his arms were just an inch longer, he probably keeps J.J. Watt off his quarterback." And don't get me started on "skinny knees"!!
N1: Every pick Manziel lasts past 4th N2: Every pick Bortles lasts past 8th N4: Every pick Carr lasts past 26th N5: Bridgewater still on board after 1st round In a salute to NFL Draft proposition bets, we make the N column a progressive one that piles on the longer that any of the top four quarterback prospects remains on the board. So if Houston, St. Louis, Jacksonville, and Cleveland all pass on Johnny Manziel (unlikely), get ready. If Blake Bortles slips past Minnesota at 8, look out. Then, Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater (whose stock has been on a cataclysmic slide based on one bad Pro Day) round out the column. A new wrinkle this year, we'll see how it goes.
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G1: Adam Schefter scoop G2: Jets fan boos G3: Katherine Webb mention G4: Tim Tebow mention G5: Aaron Hernandez mention Column G is a salute to potential draft luminaries. Adam Schefter will likely be a staple throughout the first night, at least. Katherine Webb, we can only hope will be prominently featured during the second night, when her boyfriend A.J. McCarron is expected to be selected. Jets fans will boo throughout all three nights, and Tim Tebow and Aaron Hernandez could both get mentioned as cautionary tales, albeit for very, very different reasons.
O1: Running back selected O2: Jimmy Garoppolo selected O3: Punter selected O4: A.J. McCarron selected O5: Michael Sam selected Column O is for the second and third days, in all likelihood. I don't want you all to have to do shots on the first night. I'd like to leave the use of hard alcohol Thursday night as "optional" to wash away the pain in the event the Texans throw another log onto the disappointment bonfire.
All right, now let's be careful out there! And remember, no drinking and driving!