Sean Tomlinson

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friday night lights2

Earlier this morning to (dis)honor Draft Day I went through the absolute worst in pigskin film creations. Now we follow up with the best of the bestest.

Ultimately any sports movie list is influenced by age, and in no way did I show that below with the exclusion of old classics like North Dallas Forty and Brian’s SongNope.

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draft day2

Tonight if you really want to treat someone special in your life to a romantic evening, remember that Draft Day is now in theaters and available for your viewing pleasure.

Every time I see the trailer for this film, I have two frightening realizations:

  • Someone actually thought it was a good idea to make a movie about the NFL draft.
  • Many people are going to pay a lot of money to watch a movie about the NFL draft.

Making a sports movie that’s focused on an aspect of the sport far removed from actual on-field action is not an easy thing. Whatever the specific subject matter is, it has to be compelling enough that the public is curious about what it will look like in film form.

That’s why I think Draft Day will rake, because for three days each spring an important offseason activity in the NFL that’s still, well, an offseason activity trumps the television ratings for pretty much anything else (7.7 million viewers tuned into the first round last year). In fairness it’s received positive reviews, and Kevin Costner in a sports movie is usually the best Kevin Costner.

But the problem with a movie about the NFL draft is that for such a hyper focussed sports movie to be successful, like Moneyball it needs to document an idea or concept which changed the sport. The draft is just…an event.

It might be great. But it’s far more likely Draft Day will be added to the list of awful football movies below.

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adrian2

Lately I seem to be contemplating the end quite a bit. The football end, first with Tom Brady. I’m not sure what that says about my current worldview, and I’m also not sure I really want to know.

Even if it’s just briefly, somewhere late at night behind a closed door in an office cave every general manager spends time in April thinking about the end for a superstar who’s either aging, or consistently absorbing a lot of abuse. Or both.

For Rick Spielman in Minnesota, the subject of his own quiet contemplation is Adrian Peterson.

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tebow2

Because nostalgia is fun and so is the pain of horribly failed decisions, over the next month we’re going to fire up the ol’ time machine and revisit drafts. Unofficially this great journey started Monday with a not-so distant trip to 2011, the year of the pass rusher.

At each stop we’ll remember the major storylines, the busts, the bargains, the trends, and some other things that start with “the”. Today, 2010 is under the microscope, and conveniently that’s a notorious draft year due to the presence of a righteous quarterback.

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brady hat2

“Old” can be a moving target in football, but it’s one we still generally have pinned down. Running backs are considered old at the age of 30, which is why, if they’ve been handling a steady workload throughout their career (hi there, Chris Johnson), we begin to talk about decay at the depressingly early age of 28.

Wide receivers last a little longer, but as we’ve seen with the likes of Randy Moss and Chad Ochocinco/Johnson in recent years, their abilities decline steeply at around age 35.

Then there are the quarterbacks, those weird, timeless beings. The most talented among them can stay effective well into their late 30′s. If there’s an average offensive line in front of him, a good quarterback won’t get laid out too often and add a few years, too. But arm strength still fades, as does the mobility or foot speed required to avoid a rush.

So, every year, the few teams riding a true generational talent at QB wrestle with a key question as the draft nears, and selecting an heir to the throne with a high pick is an attractive option:

When is your really great old quarterback too damn old?

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chris johnson again2

As a fan of the National Football League you have the right to be selfish. Most commonly that right is exercised when you wish for the best outcome for your team, and you hope rivals find only the deepest pits of hell.

But I prefer an even simpler existence: I want to be entertained.

Chris Johnson is an entertainer. His services in the entertainment field are now up for grabs. As a selfish fan, let’s indulge our wildest football fantasies with one question: which team gives Johnson the best opportunity to deliver football smiles?

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jj watt2

During this driest of NFL dry seasons, the draft is torn down, reassembled, and deconstructed again (rinse and repeat), we’re reminded that each draft takes on its own unique characteristics and reflects the current league climate.

In 2005 three running backs were selected in the top five: Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson, and Cadillac Williams. Nearly a decade later we recall that draft as a crushing failure and the beginning of the running back draft spiral. In the nine years since only three other backs were selected in the top five overall.

This year’s draft will almost certainly be driven by the passing game, just as it was three years ago but in a very different, and very defensive way. Let’s look back on 2011, and what’s already known as one of the great pass rusher drafts of all-time.

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