We told PFT Commenter to pack his lunch pail and get a ticket to Chicago to cover the NFL Draft for us. We're required to remind you that these strong takes are SATIRE. Sorry, not sorry. All spelling errors are intentional, we think. -Ed.
CHICAGO- We've finally made it. It feels like Christmas morning and NFL fans around the country finally get to open there presents and try to act surprised even though Mel Kiper and Todd McShay snooped through your parents shopping bags and tipped you off to your teams picks ahead of time. SB Nation sent me up here for one reason, to give you all a REAL NFL fans glimpse of what the NFL draft is like in a beautiful working class city like Chicago.
One thing you allways hear about Chicago is how beautiful it is in the summertime, like every other city below the arctic circle isnt gernaly pleasant to be in when its 70 degrees in August. But Chicagos real charm lies during its winters- where they call it "Bear weather" I guess because there football team typically goes into hibernation between October and February. Honestly folks they call it "The Windy City" but its more like "The Losedy City" recently.
Chicago is surrounded by lake Michigan and poor urban planning. At least I think its Lake Michigan, either that or people were to polite or aroused by my presence to correct me. The big question everyones asking about Lake Michigan is- sure its a Great Lake, but is it Elite? I will try to find out.
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This is a football town
Just ask a local, they'll all tell you- first thing you do when your in Chicago- "Ya gotta go ta Ditkas!" The old coach, and would be United States President were it not for a meddlesome Jay Mariotti has probly the best steakhouse in America.
So its a no brainer to stop by Coach's old hole-in-the-wall (no offense to Larry Craig) if you can make it past the Weber Grill without going there first. Thats right, the official grill of Dads has its own restraunt which is like going to Coachella where the entire concerts just a AIWA boombox broadcasting "Wait wait, dont tell me" at a reasonable volume.
Anyhoo, Coach Ditka is a Chi-town legend. The man won one superbowl with the best defense ever assembled and he'ss generally regarded as the best football coach in world history, which is like saying that Harry Truman is the most effectient soldier of all time.
Chicago is a food town. Its important when your in a new city to steep yourself in the local culture and the best way to do this is to eat how the locals eat. Ketchup is a regional delicacy in Chicago and they put that stuff on everything. Ketchup is to Chicago what undersalting is to the entire country of England. When you ask for some of "Ditkas special sauce" they just bring out a industral size tin of Heinz and you have to figure out how to open it using only gumption.
It makes you wonder how come only athletes and coaches get to open up steakhouses. Why cant a sporstwriter do it also? Can you imagine if Skip and Rick Bayless teamed up to make Skip's Take-house? Instant millions.
So the steak was delicous and I washed it down with 3 iron mike ales, and a shot of Malort which is a hard liquor that could euthanize a small horse. Alot of people dont know what Malort is but I had two seperate people describe it to me as "drinking hairspray" so you know its delicious. Now, I dont beleve in tipping since all they're doing is bringing me my food that ordered. When I eat out Im the coach running a belly offense and the waiter is just a extenson of me. If your a coach do you give your QB a bonus because he took a three step drop when you asked him to? But on the tip-line I left some advice that they're new slogan should be: "Ditkas- where every drink is a old-fashioned!" The waiter rolled his eyes because you could tell he was kicking himself for not thinking of that one before.
Another cool thing they had on the menu was "The Kobe Burger" which I presume means its aged too long and you have to pretend that it's still good because you're paying so much for it and if you want it to look decent you have to take 40 shots while your eating it.
Chicago does it big
So in case you missed it the whole reason Im here is for the NFL draft. The NFL draft is like the Superbowl of the offseason for the NFL. For the past 50 years it has taken place in New York City, but Roger Goodell's latest masterpiece is to treat the Draft like its a actual NFL game or Megachurch and take it on the road. People are going to be standing up going nuts over something they only pretend to understand, wearing limited editon hats custom made for this weekend, while all there really doing is lining the pockets of a weird leader in a suit thats fuck-you expensive. In other words Its like a giant football revival tent meeting.
But theres a magic about the draft- its a occaision where all of Gods creatures tall or horizontal, bald or fish, can get together and agree that the Raiders just dont know what the hell there doing.The draft is still ver much a inexact science, like the knuckleball or global warming. Some people have to admit that they forget that Danny Woodhead never even got drafted despite the fact that hes good. In my opinon, the NFL needs to right that wrong and do like a Oscars type thing for him and give him a lifetime achievement award or something. Its like when Satchel Page got inducted into the MLB hall of fame. Not to be offensive but its logicaly inconsistent for someone to be in favor of paying reparations for slavery but not want to give Danny Woodhead a honorary moement onstage hugging Goodell. Goes both ways.
After lunch, I took an stroll over to the media credentialing room to pick up my badge and give you a behind the scenes tour of Draft Town, but I was two days early. Literally the first one in punching the clock. Really tells you something that the rest of the NFL media will spend months scouting a player but wont even show up two days early to report about the 900,000 square foot celebraton to end all celebratons. Fortunatley, I am, shall we say resourcefull in figuring out ways to provide you exsclusive content. Im a gamer, a real grinder, I battle through adversity.
So they've been building this giant "Draft Town" (almost a anagram for "FEMA CAMP") on the East side of Chicago for the last 2 weeks and its almost ready for its closeup. "Draft Town" will be like a interactive NFL draft park where fans can It will feature a bunch of awesome stuff like a Phillip Phillips concert where he sings love songs about Bud Light and Verizon, and Vinny Cerrato walking around with a stack of resumes and a freezer bag full of cocaine. The main attraction in Dradft Town seems to be that theres 3 combine drills that you can do if you get bored walking around and watching TVs. Fans can also line up for probably an hour to get to run a 40 yard dash despite the fact that there are forty yards literaly all aroud you that you can run through. You can also try the vertical leap and broad jump too.
Im a big fan of a working-class mentality and the NFL as a league embodys that better than any other sport. One way they proved that is by having their finger on the pulse of there fans. For example the league built 32 "Fan Caves," one for each team- which are literally living room simulators for fans who want to get that "at home" experence while at the fan festival. With all the modern day technology that fans use like playing in Fantasy GM leagues and one-day NFL smokescreen competitions on FanDuel, the league needs to give fans that option. Heres the Detroit "Fan Cave" complete with the teams' actual trophy case:
Goodell recognizes that the age of 100,000 seat stadiums might be ending, and in a genius move of marketing, the ultimate way to monetize this is by pulling a 360 turn and literaly turning fans living rooms into smaller, more intimate NFL stadiums. Fans were chomping at the bit sample the amenties of the luxurious man caves, pictured here is a pretty typical Redskins fan already lining up to get a glimpse.
Now its not just the glamor of the Fan Caves. The magic of draft town lies in its selection square, a room where teams will have representatives taking calls and wheeling and dealing.
In selecton square, every team has a table set up with there own private space heater except the Packers who will be cutting the sleeves off there dress shirts to intimidate the other GMs.
You might be asking yourself, "Great article PFT Commenter, you seem cool and also handsome. How many cool NFL fans are going to be visiting what appears to be the worlds shittiest amusement park?" Well yesterday, Mayor Rahm Emmanuelle commented that he expects Draft Town to draw "north of a hundred thousand" attendees. But I call him Emanuelle in Space because his heads in the clouds on this one folks. As a guy whose been to alot of meet and greets with porn stars, I can tell you that guys are drawn like a moth to a flame for mastubatory tributes to quasi-celebrities. I personally wouldnt be suprised if over one million fans showed up to Draft Town so they can stand across the street from the NFL draft. I'll be periscoping my adventures in draft town later this afternoon and throught the weekend so stay tune.
Also, in my exclusive report of news that I am braking here are the prices of food concessons:
But the BIG breaking news out of the conecssion situaton is that the NFL is selling FULL 750ml BOTTLES OF WINE FOR $7. If anyones in Chiacgo you can find me all weekend standing within 50 feet of this tent at all times like I have a reverse restraning order.
I will say that Grant park has alot of experience when it comes to putting on a big flashy show for a bunch of die-hard hopeful supporters cheering on their untested selecton and making a big deal out of them before they even set foot on the job:
Except its bigger. Its literally about 5 times bigger then Obamas "election" ceremony despite the fact that the actual primetime drafting of players will be taking place indoors in a theater on the other side of Michigan avenue. Some naysayers would tell you that "Draft Town" is the NFL literaly looking into a mirror across the street at what they have created and pitching a giant tent in reaction to there own enormous, sensual power. Not me though. I think its good.
The Draft is here.
Chicago is ready.