NFL draft and poker

I’m a confirmed NFL junkie. I just read that 1.13 million hits were registered on nfl.com the day that the 2005 schedule came out. I had the schedule two hours early. Millions of fans are in fantasy leagues. I’m in four. If I join any more I might have to go into rehab. Some fans might watch some of the draft in passing. I made it into an event.

My friends joined the poker phenomenon about a year ago. Once a month someone will host on a Friday night and we’ll play for stakes so low that Carl Pohlad might even make the occasional raise. On draft day (just the first day), we’re going to combine two loves.

That’s right. We’re going to play poker on draft day. What else are we supposed to do while Chris Berman thinks of nicknames and Mel Kiper obliterates what’s left of the ozone layer with hairspray? We’re even going to bet on who gets selected for every pick until we descend into a drunken haze. If the draft starts at high noon (the Western analogy isn’t too far off), the haze might start by 12:15. Odds are high that someone will forget if a full house beats a flush.

This group represents the cream of the crop in local NFL freaks. We have the paranoid Patriot fan. Every time one of us finds a story that even suggests that Peyton Manning might be a better quarterback than Tom Brady, it’s forwarded to him and the countdown to a rant is short indeed. There’s the Pittsburgh fan who is brutally honest about his team (even predicting the Steelers’ downfall on the eve of the AFC championship) and won’t hesitate to say how the Pirates are going to turn it around one of these years. That’s a well-rounded Pittsburgh fan. And we can’t forget the St. Louis Rams fan who will probably wear his Kurt Warner jersey because it was Mr. Warner who helped beat my Titans in Super Bowl 34. There’s a Bucs fan in there, so most of these guys have seen their team hoist the Lombardi trophy in recent memory. It will be a blast, and we can all dream that one of the drafted players will be a key component to a championship run this fall.

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