I made a bold personal decision to witness the 2014 NFL Draft from Nashville. I did get an offer to cover the Titans for Bleacher Report like I did last year, but I decided instead to be a fan only this year.
On the way up, I saw the following poster and sent the picture to my father-in-law, the most orange of all Tennessee Vol fans. I wondered if Peyton got paid for that picture since college players get bupkis for their college rights, but we’re talking about Peyton here.
I got to Nashville around 5 p.m., but I had an important stop to make first. I’ve been diving into the Nashville craft beer scene every time I came up. Stopping at a grocery store, I picked up a couple of six packs. What, I’m going to spend this weekend sober? By Vince Young’s ghost, not a chance. I picked up Highland Little Hump Ale (I know, North Carolina, not sticking with the theme) and Blackstone Nut Brown Ale.
There was only time for one Hump before I hit the road with my dad for LP Field. We decided to see what kind of concession options were there, which turned out to be a mistake. I’m generally negative about the Titans’ organization, but they are doing smart things for the season ticket holders, having events like this to keep the meager excitement going.
We arrived well before the draft, and the stadium wasn’t filled to capacity but there were thousands of people there. It was mostly a family crowd I’d say. The field was open, so we went down there and I got to attempt a field goal. I had to yell “laces out!” as I shanked my attempt.
We moseyed inside and visited the team’s locker room. Naturally I had to take a picture with the face of the franchise. This franchise desperately needs a face, and hopes were high that the #11 pick would help with that situation.
We stopped by the media room inside which was a replay of the Music City Miracle play. Hello, last Buffalo Bills playoff memory. I decided to pass on an opportunity to take the Wonderlic and instead took a picture of myself in a football helmet. It looks pretty big. No wonder Peyton has that giant red mark on his famous forehead all the time.
My dad and I went through the team’s gift shop. We could get a practice jersey of players who were cut in Augusts from many years ago for $100 (buy one get one free) or a NFL Draft hat for $38 (with 20% off, almost less than $30). We decided to move on to the club section upstairs. The Titans’ radio team was trying to kill time up to the draft. I saw Frank Wycheck and knew that Bills nation would kill for a chance to punch him. Oh, want to see the spot where Kevin Dyson caught the lateral on the Music City Miracle? Yes, nothing interesting has happened in this stadium since 2000.
They were working on the concessions, but never fear, there were plenty of food options. You could get a hot dog or a cheese bratwurst that tasted suspiciously like a hot dog. I think this may have been unsold stock from 2013. I know, I attended a draft event with no beer. This was planned poorly.
We sat and waited as the first ten picks passed. The Jags taking Bortles made me chuckle a bit. Manziel’s drop gave me a fleeting hope that the team would draft him. I doubt the front office thought he’d be available at 11. I knew they’d pass on Teddy Bridgewater, because a guy with a 31/4 TD/int ratio who crushed a Florida defense in the Sugar Bowl two years ago couldn’t be the face of the franchise like Kerry Collins. The radio guys kept saying Taylor Lewan and they must have had a little inside information because that was the pick. It was as exciting as drafting a kicker in a fantasy draft. The Titans recently gave Michael Oher a fairly pricey contract and Michael Roos is stuck at left tackle. Plus his off-the-field issues make “Pacman” Jones look like Tim Tebow. Not feeling the front office in this selection, especially with a couple of QBs there who would have been great selections.
We left after the pick. That’s a nice stadium you have there, Titans. I don’t look forward to visiting this fall, but who knows, there still are at least five picks to go. I returned home and finished two Nut Browns and one more Little Hump before the Vikings traded up for Teddy. I’m jealous of Vikings and Browns fans. That’s not a good sign.