When Drew Magary asks if you’re excited about something, the initial impulse is generally to say yes. The man is large and eager and highly excitable, and when he is excited the instinct is to be excited, too. You would no more tell him that you are not excited than you would say “ugh, relax” to a big grinning Labrador Retriever that had trotted over to you with a tennis ball in its mouth. You try turning this guy down:
But when Drew asked if I was excited about the NFL Draft, which begins its sprawling three-day crawl across various NFL-aligned media platforms on Thursday, I could not in good conscience say yes. I like watching NFL football despite everything the NFL surrounds it with and I like laughing at the delightful dumb guy machinations of NFL executives and I’m not averse to reading about the bizarre overbearing parents of rising draft prospects around this time of year, but if I am being honest I am not especially psyched to spend parts of three days hearing Mel Kiper say the words “fast-twitch” or “get-off.” I am not ready to look at Roger Goodell’s face again just yet. The weather is too nice for me to waste even a moment getting upset about the New York Giants virtuously drafting the most boring, tallest player they can and then patting themselves on the back for it. And yet, over the course of this draft-centric Deadcast, I quite predictably talked myself into it.
Some of that was helped by Drew’s stirring show-opening rendition of the Mike & The Mad Dog-style theme song he wrote for us, admittedly, which had me ready to run through a damn wall. But also this is the uncanny and borderline unholy thing that the NFL does—it degrades its product and its labor force in the cheesiest and most cynical ways, it actively insults its viewers at least half the time and is both shamefully cheap and shamelessly greedy, it mirrors in entirely too many ways a broader culture that is run by and for the idiot ambitions of a few scheming paranoid dullards, and yet somehow it is fun for all that, either despite it or because of it or both. The stuff that sucks about it somehow only enhances the enjoyment, and the grim spectacle of front office dipsticks lying their asses off en masse and steakhead front office types reaming out college linemen because they tweet too much just becomes part of the broader oafish/operatic experience of it all. The league’s hilariously grandiose self-conception can be said to deliver in this way and this way only, but the NFL is big enough that everything really does feel like part of the show. By the end of the podcast, I realized that I would be mad if the Giants didn’t take Dwayne Haskins, but would also be mad if they took him with the first of their first-round picks instead of the second. I was, somehow, back.
And then there was the Funbag, which was as always a transporting laser-light show of miraculous thought-beams, including an ISIS cookbook, a new and hugely unnecessary abbreviation of the word “Timberwolves,” and the question of whether Donald Trump made it all the way through The Life Of Pablo. In the Funbag as in the NFL, there is no such thing as an offseason.
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