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Commentary: Draft takes over

I can feel it already. I'm having withdrawal and it's not even been 24 hours. What am I going to do with all my time? What is going to fill the void from losing something that has captivated my attention for the last several weeks?

The 2014 NFL Draft is now in the books and I have to understand it's time to leave it in my rearview mirror and slide back into reality.

It's time to relinquish the television "clicker" and suffer through some episodes of "Big Time Rush" or "Say Yes to The Dress" and put the excitement on hold for a few months until the home opener. Or even the first day of summer practice.

What is it about the NFL Draft that grabs the attention of football fans all over the world and fuels our obsession for knowledge? When did this turn in to a spectacle that rivals the World Series, NBA Championship and Stanley Cup in viewership?

If you throw in the week or so that our attention is focused on the "Combine" the numbers would probably challenge the Super Bowl.

As a kid that we would hear about the No. 1 overall draft pick or even who the Colts or Redskins picked in the draft, but it was never to the level of interest that we have as a fan base today. We'd say "cool" and go back to playing Kick The Can or Capture The Flag. Now we follow the prospective NFL players through apps on our phones and exchange "what-if's" around the water cooler or via Twitter accounts.

The NFL's marketing department is some of the best in the business. As much as I love soccer and all of the times I write about it, it will be a long time before soccer in this country, or any other sport for that matter, can compete with the brand that is the NFL.

Their brand allows them to extend their fan base to parts of the country that others never will. The NFL can be successful and teams can be competitive in places like Green Bay, Kansas City and Jacksonville with teams from the major metropolitan areas of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

They fuel our obsession for information by promoting out-of-season events with the same vigor as the games in the fall. They create made-for-television events like the Scouting Combine and the NFL Draft and we sit in front of our televisions or track them on our smart phones ad nauseum.

My middle son, my nephew, and another friend took the bus up on Friday to New York, got tickets to Radio City Music Hall to attend the draft in person, and then took the bus home - all in less than 20 hours.

The anticipation of who the Ravens or Redskins were picking next, the celebrities walking by, and the bonus that they were shown on ESPN after the Ravens second-round pick was made, to them was worth the sacrifice of sleep from their travels.

C.S. Lewis once wrote, "A man with an obsession is a man who has very little sales resistance."

I can't wait until my 2014 Draft Day package arrives!

Robert "Bird" Brown's column appears every Sunday. Reach him at 410-857-8552 or robert.brown@carrollcountytimes.com.

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