Quick quiz: Which televised event is the bored, sleep-deprived, cold-medicated, friendly neighborhood sports columnist least likely to watch?
A) TLC’s full fashion analysis of the royal wedding.
B) The NFL draft.
C) Donald Trump news conference, producing a certificate to prove that the dead squirrel attached to his head was, in fact, born in America.
D) Discovery Channel marathon about the mating habits of wildebeests.
Choose to be disturbed or concerned about my ever shrinking sanity, if you like. But the clear, unequivocal answer is a capital, boldface ‘B.’
It would be the answer even if Chris Berman and Mel Kiper Jr. didn’t strike any rational person as the two smarmiest dudes on the planet.
Even if I were screening the event from start to finish on a 108-inch screen at Hooters, surrounded by free beer and wings.
Even if every owner, player and executive affiliated with the league hadn’t spent the winter and spring competing for my affections, matching one another epic fail for epic fail.
What a pointless exercise. If I wanted to watch a sporting event without a definitive conclusion, I’d invest 90 minutes in an MLS game.
Love the draft? Can’t get enough of it? Great. When it’s over, keep the entertainment value rolling and watch the Maine Department of Labor muralist shop for her next gallon of paint. Or stop over while I adjust my 401(k) plan.
Same activity, really. That’s what every nanosecond of professional sports not played between the lines has become: Wall-to-wall noise aimed at turning speculation, anticipation and opinion into fact.
And the only cogent fact about the draft is that we just endured three months of analysis and three days of nothing.
You know squat today that you didn’t know Thursday afternoon or on any random Sunday last fall, other than whom your favorite team picked.
Take the Patriots’ draft. Please.
Had you ever heard of Nate Solder before the Pats essentially picked him up in exchange for Richard Seymour on Thursday evening?
No, the answer is no, you had not, because the University of Colorado hasn’t been relevant since Bill McCartney became a Promise Keeper and because nobody gives a rip about offensive linemen except mothers and other offensive linemen.
Will Ras-I Dowling become the most famous professional athlete named Ras-I since former lightweight champion Livingstone Ras-I Bramble? Or will he channel the spirit of the older and less successful defensive player named Chris Canty and be gone in a year?
You don’t know. Todd McShay and Adam Schefter don’t know. And it isn’t a question that’s going to be answered tonight, tomorrow or before Britney Spears’ next divorce.
Is Ryan Mallett the next Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger or Ryan Leaf? We won’t have a clue until at least 2018. You’ll upgrade the smart phone at least six times before then.
Was it rally wise to select two cookie-cutter running backs and yet another tight end instead of a potential playmaking receiver to replace the dearly departed Randy Moss? Hey, he’s Bill Belichick, and I’m not.
No other sport’s draft rates more than three hours of poorly publicized broadcast time on a channel you can’t find. Why? Because drafts are an inexact science, less exciting than an all-day lecture about the Peloponnesian War.
It’s a stinging indictment of the present state of pro sports, in general, that a game smack dab in the middle of its off-season and in the mire of one butt-ugly labor dispute can so dominate our consciousness.
The NBA and NHL either should cry or simultaneously scratch and hide their heads in shame.
Forget the we-are-all-witnesses garbage. Table that there’s-nothing-like-playoff-hockey talk. When our favorite team isn’t playing, we don’t care. Period. There is no longer any earthly reason to watch Magic-Hawks or Canucks-Predators.
Once the allure of opening day has passed, April baseball has minimal appeal and zero importance. Baseball’s season has been too long for more than a century. It’s radio fare for those lazy summer nights when it gets dark at 9:30 and 17 teams already are mathematically eliminated.
And so the NFL has filled the void, serving up a televised, three-day sale of cattle and soybean futures.
If you need me, I’ll be rearranging the sock drawer.
Kalle Oakes is a staff columnist. His e-mail is email@example.com.