A few years ago, after years of conducting its annual draft over an entire Saturday and Sunday, the NFL moved the event into primetime on Thursday night. Well, more clearly, it moved the first round (naturally, the most watched round) to prime time on Thursday night.
The second and third rounds were given the stage on Friday night, and the remainder of the draft (rounds four through seven) now takes place throughout the afternoon on Saturday.
While this has been a huge windfall for the league from a ratings, exposure and advertising revenue standpoint, it's made it harder than ever for blue chippers to plan their decadent draft parties.
Former LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu knows.
Mathieu, the former Heisman Trophy finalist who many of you know as college football's "Honey Badger," spent the entire fall smoking weed. No, literally, not a minute went by during the autumn months of 2012 where Mathieu didn't have his lips wrapped around the stem of a bong, with a half-eaten bag of Funyuns in his lap.
For his inhalation efforts, Mathieu was rewarded with a permanent suspension from LSU's football program and eventually a trip to the pokey when cops busted into his apartment, presumably on a tip that there was weed smoking going on, a tip that has roughly a 98.4 percent chance of being accurate if Honey Badger is awake.
Well, finally this spring, the light went on for Mathieu when he realized that altering your mental state for 20 hours a day while eating four or five Pizza Hut meat lover's pies doesn't really pay all that well. Football pays better. So he got his mind right, put down the bong, got into shape and worked himself back into the mix as a draft-worthy NFL prospect.
In fact, as outlined in this space yesterday, Vegas has targeted around the 75th pick (middle of the third round) as the potential area for a Mathieu selection by some team looking for a playmaker, long on intangibles if short on self-control. Not bad for a guy who was being shoved in the back of a police cruiser stoned to the bejeezus just last fall.
The drafting of Mathieu, whenever it takes place, seems like it will be a great redemption story.
Which brings us back to this whole "draft party" thing.
On a weekend where it would seem to make the most sense for the former LSU Tiger to stay home with his "Tyrann Mathieu" side and leave the "Honey Badger" persona in the closet, Mathieu was all set to celebrate his getting drafted with a big party! Naturally, with the draft being a three-day extravaganza and Mathieu's window for being drafted looking to be anywhere from the second round to the fifth round, just to be on the safe side, Mathieu was planning his party for Day Three, Saturday, right?
Okay, well, maybe Friday is a safe time to have the party then, after rounds two and three, right?
Tyrann Mathieu scheduled his draft party for the opening night right there in the Big Apple, and not only did he schedule it for the night of the first round (a round where I stand a better chance of getting drafted than he does), but he touted himself as a "1st Round Draft Pick" in the invitation.
I don't know if this was the ballsiest move ever or the dumbest. Probably both. I'm sure whatever teams hadn't been scared off by Mathieu's judgment in college are now wondering if he's really changed. Clearly, the space in his brain once occupied by dope smoke hasn't been replaced with self-awareness.
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Matheiu eventually (and wisely) canceled the party late Wednesday afternoon, but even that was done in the third person via Twitter:
There will be no party for Tyrann Mathieu!!
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) April 24, 2013
Rick Smith, I speak for everyone in this town responsible for content on a daily basis -- please, please, PLEASE draft Tyrann Mathieu!