It could be argued that the multi-billion dollar National Football League is sport and entertainment combined.
The promotion, the pregame country or rap music, and whatever else are as important as what is inside the white lines. And with gambling now legal? See ya.
Exhibit A, at least through my vision, is Super Bowl Week — especially Super Bowl Sunday — when all of the NFL underlings, marketers and corporate partners rush to the airport early after taking apart the thousands of signs, stages, etc., in the Super Bowl Village the night before.
The game seems secondary to the league. But, of course, the game is usually interesting and exciting enough to cover the “sport” side of things.
The NFL Draft?
Pure, 100%, unadulterated, total entertainment.
And I’m not complaining. The videos, commentary and home parties are fun to watch.
In fact, the buildup is two months long, starting about a week after the Super Bowl, ending with red carpets, limousines, etc. as everybody is treated like royalty.
That brings me to the football part, a minuscule part of the next three days, and the New England Patriots.
The Patriots are supposed to be in the market for a possible starting/franchise quarterback, be it a 22-year-old (several options) or 29-year-old (one option).
They could be in the market for a quarterback tonight with their 15th pick. But if we’re being honest, moving up to acquire that dude takes a little more capital, as in another second round pick. Who knows, maybe more.
While there is a healthy list of talented quarterbacks that could be gone by, believe it or not, the 15th overall pick, history says that is a big, big, big, big risk. Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Mac Jones and Trey Lance — will probably be gone by the time the Patriots pick.
I’ve seen it written by a few draft experts and NFL gurus that “there could be a quarterback still available” when the Patriots pick.
Really? Just because one of them is remaining, the Patriots should or would pick them?
We need a refresher course. Of the QBs chosen in the first round, there will be more bums (or backups) than starters.
Since 2000, 36 quarterbacks have been chosen in the top 10 picks, 27 in the top five picks.
Of the 36, only five have been to a Super Bowl. Five! Two — Eli Manning and Patrick Mahomes — have won Super Bowls. Only two — Matt Ryan and Cam Newton — have won regular season MVPs.
Basically, QBs drafted early in the draft have sunk way more franchises than they’ve helped.
Now, here’s the caveat.
Do the Patriots see a star after the first two quarterbacks, Lawrence and Wilson, are chosen with the first two picks?
Do they see Fields as the wave of the future, the “Next Cam Newton,” as Simms referred to him? Does Lance, the small college star from North Dakota State, have the tools, skills and leadership to be great?
If those two, for example, are thought of in the “franchise” mode, then have at it Bill Belichick. Add another first round pick to the mix.
The point is the Patriots are not going to draft the best available quarterback, according to rankings, at No. 15. He’s probably a future backup. If Belichick and Josh McDaniels believe a potential quarterback does not have star qualities, it’d be better to pass.
Enjoy tonight especially. It will be interesting how it turns out.
But remember this first and foremost: Tonight it about entertainment for most of the teams and their fans.
For a sparse few lucky ones, it will be about football.