Day 3 at the NFL Draft - Or How I Spent Two Hours in Line and Almost Ended Up With Alyssa Milano's Autograph

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I don't remember my camera being this blurry.

I made my way to Day 3 of the NFL draft on Saturday, which as it turns out, is not unlike the third circle of Hell. 

Third Circle (Gluttony)

Cerberus guards the gluttons, forced to lie in a vile slush produced by ceaseless foul, icy rain (Virgil obtains safe passage past the monster by filling its three mouths with mud). In her notes on this circle, Dorothy L. Sayers writes that "the surrender to sin which began with mutual indulgence leads by an imperceptible degradation to solitary self-indulgence."[9] The gluttons lie here sightless and heedless of their neighbours, symbolising the cold, selfish, and empty sensuality of their lives.[9] Just as lust has revealed its true nature in the winds of the previous circle, here the slush reveals the true nature of sensuality – which includes not only overindulgence in food and drink, but also other kinds of addiction.[10]

And if waking up at 7 AM to go watch college kids get jobs isn't a sign of addiction, then I don't know what is.

My day began by lining up with the rest of the unwashed masses at around 8:30 a block away from Radio City Music Hall, where the draft is held. The line wasn't as insanely long as the last time I tried to get in three years ago, where it stretched a third of the way across Manhattan at 4 AM. Still, it was fairly long.

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Oh, the irony of that NO STANDING ANYTIME sign.

Across the street was a tour group at Rockefeller Center who probably thought that they were at the place to be. WRONG, SUCKAS! DAY 3 OF THE NFL DRAFT IS WHERE IT'S AT!

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Because no day in Manhattan is complete without running into a Japanese tour group.

I realized on my way in that I could have just walked right into Day 2 of the draft as well the night before, because the guys handling tickets into the draft didn't even bother looking at them. So they wouldn't have had any idea whether I actually had the right tickets or just handed them a piece of paper with a doodle of Donovan McNabb is a Redskins jersey with goat horns and a pitchfork, walking hand in hand with Terrell Owens on a sandy beach. I made a mental note to try that next year.

As it turns out, there was actually quite a bit to do inside Radio City Music Hall. The Lombardi Trophy was in a display case along with replicas of every Super Bowl ring ever made.

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I spent a solid two minutes trying to find the Eagles' Super Bowl ring and then remembered - wait.  There isn't one.

My friends and I spent about an hour watching the opening picks of the fourth round - and you're not going to believe this - it's dreadfully boring. I mean, as bad as watching Mel Kiper pontificate about something he knows nothing about and argue in vain with Todd McShay about how Jimmy Clausen is the fourth best player in the whole draft, at least it's something. Sitting there up in the stands we didn't have anything to do but listen to top 40s music from the 90's (seriously, someone thought it would be a good idea to play Ironic by Alanis Morrisette in between picks) and play along with random trivia questions (who was the first overall pick in 2002?!).

But here were a couple of highlights of the first round:

  • Punter Donnie Jones of the St. Louis Rams accidentally announcing Mardy Gilyard as Marshawn Gilyard with the first pick of the fourth round. If you heard someone faintly yell, "DONNIE! WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!?!? YOU'RE FIRED!" That was me. Really.
  • The collective oohing and aahing when the details of the LenDale White-to-Seattle trade were announced. Punctuated by a guy three rows behind me yelling, "I'M NEVER DRAFTING THAT FATASS IN FANTASY AGAIN!"
  • The complete lack of recognition of who the hell Alterraun Verner is.
  • Everyone going, "Well, that was predictable." when the Raiders selected Bruce Campbell and Jacoby Ford, the two fastest players in the draft at their positions, two picks apart. Though everyone seemed to think they were good picks too.
  • Booing from Giants fans when the Jets were on the clock and then picked Joe McKnight. Someone yelling, "Braylon! DON'T DROP THE MIKE!" when Braylon Edwards announced that pick. All right, that was me too.
  • Booing from everyone in the building when the Eagles and Carl Lewis (yes, that Carl Lewis) were on the block. Carl Lewis leading a two-man E-A-G-L-E-S chant. Because I was the only other person who followed along with him.

After the Giants' pick of Phillip Dillard (punctuated with a "YES! A LINEBACKER!" yell from the peanut gallery) we made our way down to the main concourse where our schedule of activities revealed that David Diehl, Giants LT, would be signing autographs in the lower level of the building. We first went to the booth where people could pretend they were just drafted by their favorite team first overall.

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The guy handing out jerseys actually asked me which team's jersey I wanted. I briefly thought about asking for a Raiders jersey just to mess with him.

So that was pretty sweet. After that was done we got in line (remember the headine?) and were hoping to get David Diehl's autograph. As it turns out, he just finished his autograph session and I got this picture of him talking with someone far more important than me.

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PROTIP: NFL offensive linemen are big people.

But that was fine, because next up was Antonio Cromartie, he of the seven kids by six different women. I had come with one Jets fan and one Giants fan, so this was still acceptable. Unfortunately, we had underestimated how long the line would take, and Antonio Cromartie's signing session came and went while we were still winding our way through the depths of Radio City Music Hall. Another check of the signing schedule revealed that the next person in the line would be...

Alyssa Milano.

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When I go to the NFL draft, one thing I expect to get out of it is the autograph of someone who was on Who's the Boss?

This led someone to exclaim rather loudly, "I spent two hours in line at the NFL draft and I end up with Alyssa Milano's autograph? WHAT THE HELL!" My friends and I managed to avoid that fate by hanging out in line and letting people pass us by until Hakeem Nicks of the Giants showed up. During this time we were starving, so I checked out my ticket into the building.

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All right! Subway coupon on the back! Victory!...wait a minute...that coupon expires 12/31/09.  Four months before the draft even started.

Foiled again! It was around this time that being at the NFL draft really began to feel like the third Circle of Hell, since none of us had eaten all day. Eventually though, we did get Hakeem Nicks autographs.

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So that's nice. Was it worth two hours? As we were debating that, we encountered something that was worth waiting two hours for: Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders.

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There was another cheerleader in this pic, but let's be honest. She doesn't matter.

So that made the day worth it to say the least. Would I go back? If I knew the Eagles cheerleaders weren't going to be there? Probably not. But was it worth going to? It's an experience, and though I wouldn't want to go to Day 3 again if I knew the Eagles cheerleaders weren't going to show up (and I'm not kidding that that would affect my decision), I might try to sneak into Day 1 next year. We'll have to see how that goes.

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