"Holy Toledo!"

April 29, 2015

Draft Day Tradition & Celebration

Filed under: A.F.L., College Football, NFL, Oakland Raiders — Bill @ 10:34 am

NFL Draft Day, also known as the player selection meeting, or what I refer to as the unofficial halfway point of the offseason. Several years ago, after suffering three long months of a terribly boring offseason, I decided to make Draft Day an annual event at my house. I declared that I would treat this special day like others celebrate the Super Bowl, filled with fun, food, and traditions.

The first and foremost rule of my Draft Day celebration is that food needs to be bountiful, in keeping with the style of the epic tailgate party. Over the years I have had it all, feasts of championship proportion. We are talking about chicken wings, hot dogs with all the fixings, chips, salsa, roasted peanuts in the shell, nachos, jalapeno poppers wrapped in bacon, homemade chili, grilled hamburgers & fries, slow roasted ribs, you name It, I’ve made it for Draft Day. This year, in honor of the Draft being held in Chicago, the star of the menu will be Chi-Town Dogs (grilled Chicago-style hot dogs will all the proper garnishments). No ketchup allowed.

Like any game day the official jersey is worn with pride. This year I will honor the Raiders newest Hall of Fame member and wear my Tim Brown jersey. Unlike Timmy I will be wearing a Super Bowl ring (no not a real one!). My wife, who supports my craziness like a trooper, will be wearing her new Andre Holmes road jersey, even Sally the dog will have on her Raiders scarf.

A great tailgate party must have a full ice chest of cold beverages. Yes I own a refrigerator, but c’mon guys, beer always tastes better when you pull it from a frosty ice chest. I might throw in a few soft drinks in case any kids show up, but the overwhelming number of bottles will be full of the barley and hops based liquid.

Ever since 2008 there has been a tradition, what I refer to as “the lighting of the flame”. Whoever attends this annual party must gather around the barbecue. We each hold our beverage of choice, and we all go around the circle naming our all-time favorite draft pick. I then hold up my JaMarcus Russell jersey effigy, light in on fire, then toss it into the barbecue, thus lighting the flame. It is only after this that any real Draft Day celebration may properly begin.

The NFL Draft was first created and approved by the team owners in 1935. The Eagles owner Burt Bell had been complaining that his franchise could not compete with the likes of the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants. Before the Draft, all players were free to sign with whoever they wished. All college players were in essence free agents. On February 8th, 1936 at the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia, nine NFL team owners met to select players in the fist ever NFL Draft Day. For Bell’s Eagles this Draft Day offered him little help, his team would finish 1-11 that season. For Jay Berwanger however, that day would carve his name in the history books forever, as the first player ever chosen in the NFL Draft. I’m guessing nobody dressed their dog in a team colored scarf that day.

In the early years of my Draft Day party I would invite a bunch of friends over and we would really make a big day of it. Back then the Draft began early on a Saturday morning, so we had the weekend to recover. Ever since the NFL changed to having the first round on a Thursday night, my Draft Day party has been somewhat subdued compared to previous seasons. The tradition still lives on however, and in honor of Jay Berwanger, Burt Bell, and Mel Kiper Jr. there will be a lighting of the flame. Draft Day 2015 is set to begin.


1 Comment »

  1. Sounds like a lot of fun bill wish i could be there.

    Comment by uncle buck — April 29, 2015 @ 11:54 am

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