|And you thought we would run out of ways to rip on Cam Newton!|
Written by: Jared Prince
Co-written/Heavily edited by: Jon Landrum
Creative Idea by: Jared Prince
This idea was created solely by Jared Prince and the story recounts his fictional experiences.
Amidst this current NFL crisis, it’s hard to have much hope for the 2011 NFL season. Thing is, I’m kind of a worrier, so all this talk of litigation and lockout has definitely got me on edge. All I want is football! Well, guess what? In spite of my worrying tendencies, I’m not going to let this lockout get to me. And so, even though there’s a chance no football will be played next year, I’m still going through my normal routine.
It’s mid-April, which means the NFL Draft is just around the corner. I don’t follow college football very closely, so the weeks leading up to the draft are the time where I find out as much as I can about the top prospects. Believe me; it gets pretty out of hand. I watch the scouting combine, check out pro days, and tune into the NFL Network for any draft related shows. I check out ALL the mock drafts from ESPN, CBS, Yahoo, and any other site that may post mock drafts (even crappy sites like BDT) to see where certain players are going and, most importantly, who my Vikings are targeting. If the Vikings might take them, then I research them. This, of course, leads to inevitable debates with anyone and everyone about who their team should take and who my team should take. Heck, I even go so far as to make my own mock drafts to see scenarios where certain players fall the Vikings. You could say I get a little obsessed. True story; last year, my sister got married on the Saturday of the draft and I threatened not to go. I was serious! Of course, someone in my family would have likely killed me if I had skipped…which would probably be good for you since you wouldn’t be reading this crappy post.
And so on Saturday, when it was nice and sunny outside, was I out enjoying the day and playing golf like a certain other crappy BDT writer? No, of course not! I was parked on the couch, in front of my TV, watching Path to the Draft for hours and hours. It’s not that I don’t have a life or that I didn’t have anything better to do; like I said, I’m a huge football fan who craves any draft related information I can get my hands on…and also I don’t have a life and I didn’t have anything better to do. Whatever. Anyways, during breaks, NFL Network repeatedly ran a certain commercial (not Napa Know How!) for a contest they are holding. Apparently, the winner of this contest will have the opportunity to announce an actual draft pick for their favorite team. Needless to say, I immediately wanted to enter! I could picture myself standing proudly behind the podium, boldly announcing the future star of my beloved Minnesota Vikings. This player would immediately become my player. I’d buy his jersey, wear it proudly on game days, and point to the TV and tell anyone who’ll listen that I, Jared Prince, announced his selection as the newest member of my favorite team. He and I would forever be associated with each other. Yep, I was definitely entering this contest!
With grandiose thoughts still filling my mind, I drifted off to sleep on my couch, completely unaware of the horror I was about to endure. I can’t recall how this dream began (because, as seen in Inception, we never remember the beginning of a dream or how we got there), but it was clear I had won the contest and was sitting in the Vikings war room, waiting for my moment of glory. Now, I know the war rooms are usually in some random back room, but for some reason, the Vikings war room was at the very front table, right in front of the stage. The draft was just about to begin and Roger Goodell was already making his way up front to announce the Carolina Panthers were on the clock. To my right is the crowd of draft prospects, all waiting for their chance to shake Mr. Goodell’s hand. To my left is Rick Spielman and the rest of the Vikings’ brass, looking over their draft board and furiously working the phones. I can’t really tell what’s going on amidst the chaos, and I’m obviously uninvolved in any of the actual decision making. All I have to do is sit and wait for them to hand me the card.
Thus far, I have no idea what pick I’ll be announcing. I’m assuming it’s going to be a mid round pick since it seems out of the question they would have me announce a first or second rounder. So I’m free to sit back, relax, and soak in the full draft experience. All my hours of research and I’m actually here watching it all unfold just a few feet in front of me! Carolina opens things up, but for some odd reason, I can’t tell who’s getting picked! The selections keep rolling in, Goodell keeps coming to the podium, and the Viking war room keeps reacting, but I can’t make out a single pick! Everything seems to be going so fast! I can tell they’re updating the selections above the stage, but I can’t seem to read any of the names either! Here I am, sitting in the very front row at the 2011 NFL Draft, and I’m the only person in the entire room who is clueless as to what’s going on! This sucks!
Seemingly out of nowhere, the crowd around me comes alive and I quickly realize the Vikings are on the clock. If there was ever a time to come to and figure out what the heck is going on, it was now. This is my team! This is an important pick! I need to know! As I desperately try to get my bearings before Goodell once again makes his way on stage, I feel a firm tap on my shoulder. Looking to my left, I see the tapping is from none other than Rick Spielman himself! What the heck could Rick Spielman want with me when he’s supposed to be making a draft pick?! They certainly aren’t asking for my opinion, are they? As he slowly slides a large envelope in front of me, I realize what‘s actually going on. I’m announcing the 12th overall pick! By now, my whole body is shaking violently and when he asks me if I’m ready, all I can get out is a barely audible “yeah.”
All of a sudden, I snap out of my funk. The fear is gone, the shaking is gone, and I’m fully aware of how incredible my situation is. I’m announcing my team’s first round pick! For the first time all day, I can hear everything, I can see everything, and I’m excited! I confidently snatch up the envelope, get out of my chair, and start my glorious journey to the podium. As I ascend the stairs and turn towards center stage, I suddenly realize I have no idea who I’ll be announcing. It’s difficult to ever really know who your team is picking even if you’ve seen all the previous selections, but I haven’t even gotten to do that! As Mr. Goodell shakes my hand and escorts me to the podium, I sneak a quick glance up at the selection board to give me an idea of what’s going to happen…and I don’t like it. There’s one big name missing; one key name that hasn’t been put up on the board yet. HE’S STILL AVAILABLE! A panic sweeps over me as I center myself at the podium and slowly unseal the envelope. PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE?! DON’T DO THIS TO ME! DON’T MAKE ME READ HIS NAME!
With terror in my heart, I slowly pull the card from the envelope and, in one horrifying moment, my worst fears are realized. With a huge pit in stomach, I look into the crowd, hoping and praying for some form of relief, but all I can see is the big, fake smile of Cam Newton. He’s on the phone, grinning like an idiot, undoubtedly being welcomed to the Vikings organization. How could this happen? How is he even still available at #12? He was supposed to be long gone! Am I being punked or something? Is Ashton Kutcher going to run out from behind stage in a few seconds with a camera crew? Did Rick Spielman somehow find this little blog and think it would be hilarious to make me announce Cam Newton as the newest Viking? Hoping beyond hope, I check the selection board one last time. Nope, no mistake has been made. He’s still available and I’m going to have to read the one name I loathe the most.
Now, I’ve spent quite a bit of time ripping on Cam Newton in previous podcasts and posts. I wrote a whole scouting report bashing him! He’s arrogant, he’s got major character problems, and above all, he sucks at throwing the football! News flash; that’s a major problem when you’re a quarterback. Yes, my biggest fear for the Vikings is happening, and I’m somehow involved. After all the bashing, I simply can’t be the one to announce his selection! Having to announce the complete and utter waste of a high first round pick on this clown is like FOX hiring Colin Cowherd and Matt Millen to man the booth for the Super Bowl. It’s the apocalypse of a once great and wonderful thing.
At this point, as I stare down at the card of death, I have three choices. I could:
1. Read aloud the destruction of my favorite sports franchise and suffer through his time with the Vikings. This is obviously what I’m supposed to do since I’m only here to read the pick and not actually make the pick. It’s still a great experience, right? I got to read my teams first round pick…even if it means we may not win another game for the next five years. However, I quickly find it difficult to get the words past my lips. Am I really sure I grabbed the right card? Am I going to get booed off stage? Will people throw things at me? Will the entire Minnesota fan base hold me responsible in some way for this turd of a pick? With all these questions running through my mind, it’s extremely difficult to go with this option.
2. Wait and hope. In 2003, the Vikings failed to get their pick in on time and the next two teams raced ahead of them, forcing the Vikings back from #7 to #9. So, what if I just stood here silently for the full ten minutes? What if I never read the name on the card? In 2003, we ended up with Kevin Williams! That worked out pretty well! Maybe it could happen again! Maybe a team would be stupid enough to jump ahead and take Newton! Could this actually work?! Look, I realize there’s a good chance Rick Spielman and other Vikings representatives would likely attempt to force me off stage to make sure they make their pick, but I’d be willing to stand toe to toe and fight for this one. I really hope Adrian Peterson wasn’t sitting at our table…
3. Pull a Jack Nicholson at the 2006 Oscars. In case you don’t remember, Nicholson was the presenter for Best Picture in 2006 when Crash beat Brokeback Mountain. There’s this crazy theory that, after reading the card, Nicholson pulled the ultimate “ah, screw it” and announced Crash as the winner even though Brokeback Mountain was on the card. Whether this is true or not, I have no idea, but it certainly seems like a good idea right now! Seriously, what would happen if I announced a different player? I know most of the top players; I’ve studied all the mock drafts and big boards! After all, only eleven other players have been drafted thus far. Either way, it’s not like I could screw up worse than taking Cam Newton! Really, what would the Vikings do? Better yet, how funny would it be to see Cam Newton’s face when I don’t announce his name even after the Vikings already called him?!
Contemplating these options, I look back up at the crowd and become aware of the extreme awkwardness that has swept over the room. I’ve been standing at the podium for over 30 long seconds; contemplative and silent. There’s some shuffling over in the Vikings makeshift war room as Spielman whispers some instructions to a very large and tough looking aide. A few of them begin to make their way to the stage and it becomes clear we’ve reached the point where I must choose between announcing Cam Newton or booking a long term stay in the ICU. Gathering myself one last time, I begin to read the name of abominations. “With the 12th selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings sele…
SNAP! Just like that, I pull out of the nightmare. Thank goodness that’s over and thank goodness I didn’t get through that last sentence! As another draft contest commercial comes on the TV, I begin to panic and quickly turn the channel before I end up back in my nightmare. What seemed to be the greatest contest of all time has quickly turned against me. While I would love to announce a Vikings draft pick, I just can’t take the risk of having to announce Cam Newton. Yeah, I know they won’t actually let a random fan announce a first round pick, but just in case Newton falls to the fourth or fifth round…and, in case you were wondering, no, I’m not entering this year.
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