Monday, April 25, 2011

A Week Full of Mergers and Acquisitions

I had not realized that two epic made-for-television events were going to be broadcast this week until I heard some folks in the office last Friday discussing the upcoming NFL Draft and the upcoming royal nuptials.  I do not know your level of interest in either.  For me, it is a flat-footed tie.  I care not at all about the two events equally.  Among the many things about which I know nothing is horse racing.  Thus, I shall defer to my learned friend Tom to answer the question as to whether it would be appropriate to say, "it is a horse race as to which one I can about less." I shall not use that term again pending a ruling from him as to its propriety.

Is it only me though enjoying the irony of the fact that at the same time as the NFL and the owners of its teams have locked out the players who currently are members of each team's roster, the league is hosting some sort of three-day Bacchus Fest for the couch-potato looking element of its fan base, introducing them to each team's newest players?  Welcome to the league where neither you nor anyone else may play for pay or otherwise - at least for the foreseeable future. 

If I thought that the crews from the NFL Network and/or ESPN were going to devote any time at all to the issues of (a) how many of the top college players attend the Draft, which is being held this year under the most unusual of circumstances; and (b) how the current NFL players - locked out by their respective teams - are going to treat the new recruits - including but not limited to the ones who stand on the podium shaking the hand of the Commissioner and sporting a baseball cap and the ever-popular "#1" jersey of their new/future employer, then I might set the DVR to record some of the Draft. 

But I presume that such talk would be blasphemous on the NFL Network, which reduces the likelihood of hearing word one on the subject remote at best.  And given the amount of time and energy that ESPN devotes to the self-appointed guru Mel Kiper, who annually explains how the best determination of how well someone will play football as a professional is NOT by watching him play the game but by watching him run and jump and do drills while wearing a t-shirt and shorts, and who - unless he can figure out a way to break the current labor issues down into 40-yard dash times - likely knows less about it than the rest of the stuff about which he blathers on, I doubt highly that the boys from Bristol will delve into it either. 

I fear that the only way to get actual discussion on the issue, which I submit may very well have longer-echoing ramifications in NFL locker rooms than how many squats an inside linebacker prospect from WhatsaMatta U was able to perform at the Combine, will be to create a Reality TV show dealing with it.  For example (and I have not attempted to protect this as my intellectual property so if that Aussie dynamo Mark Burnett swoops in and steals it, I asked for it), one of the networks could pay Ray Lewis or Brian Urlacher (in full battle regalia of course) stand at a designated spot on the stage, equidistant to the podium with the spot from which the just-drafted player will begin his ascent and see whether those kids can juke and move as sharply in their cartoonish-looking double-breasted suits (when watching keep count of how many of the draftees appear to auditioning for spots in the horn section of the Cherry Poppin' Daddies) as they can on the football field. 

The NFL and its broadcast partners could add an element of running the gauntlet to the walk to the podium.  I, for one, would enjoy watching it.  It might even render watchable something that is so absurdly dull that the one person whose mental stability I question more than the person who watches it on TV is the one who attends the Draft live.  The NFL has a rule that requires a team - regardless of what has just happened on the preceding play - to run its next play within a fixed amount of time (35 or 40 seconds or whatever the play clock's limit is).  Circumstances be damned.  The rules provide you with only "X" amount of time to run a play regardless of the fluidity of the game's action.  Yet, after having had months to poke and prod the pool of available players like they were a large herd of prized cattle, every team in the first round gets fifteen minutes to make its pick.  Personally, if they installed a 40-second clock at the Draft, they might persuade me to watch.

Meanwhile on the Pond's other side, Friday is the day that Prince William and Kate Middleton shall be wed.  You know that there is a lot of money involved in this match for two reasons.  First, the fact that his name is preceded by the word "Prince" is a good indicator.  Second, they are getting married on a Friday, which is not in and of itself unusual, at 10:00 a.m, which is.  When neither of the participants is worried about giving up a day's pay to get married, you know money is no object.   There are 1900 people expected to attend this wedding.  I hope that when the groom is the heir to the British throne, the traditional rule about the bride's family paying for the wedding goes directly out the palace window.  If not, the Middletons are going to spend the rest of their lives paying for this shindig. 

Perhaps it is just the Irish in me but the British Royal Family holds no particular fascination for me.  I remember catching a bit of grief from friends of mine when,  in the aftermath of the deaths of Mother Theresa and Princess Diana and the world's elevation of the latter to sainthood, I commented more than once on the gossamer quality of Princess Di.  Present company excluded, there appears to still be a keen interest in the wedding of these two young folks.  Perhaps it is because William is Diana's son?  Perhaps it is because it affords millions of people the chance to get a glimpse at how "the other half" lives?  I know not.  I do know that since I do not have the initials "HRH" emblazoned on my business cards in front of my name, my Friday shall be spent working - and not watching.  I was surprised to read that in a break from tradition William and Kate are having their reception at Red Robin instead of Buckingham Palace.  If you have ever eaten a Red Robin burger, then you understand the decision.  If you have not, then get thyself to an eatery!

You can probably even watch both the Draft and the Wedding while you eat.  I am sure there are televisions in the bar.


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