Most of the reactions I had read beforehand about Draft Day—the new feature film about the NFL draft, a rather mundane event where names are read off of index cards for three straight days—amounted to, “I can’t believe they made this into a movie.” Well, they did, and it’s not bad.
Kevin Costner is the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, and he makes a Washington/Robert Griffin-esque trade up to No. 1 overall the morning of the draft. Drama ensues. It’s not the most realistic series of events leading to the finish, but your mind will be occupied by the football stuff as the stories of love, family and redemption at the movie’s core play out.
On first viewing, the film earns the grade of watchable, which is high praise in my own very stringent movie review system.
Of course, any sports movie is bound to stray from reality or have little moments that stand out as odd. For example, Chris Berman explaining what would happen if the Browns didn’t make their pick with the 10 minutes allotted the moment the team was on the clock seemed strange. Yeah, like the GM who just traded three first-round picks to go No. 1 wouldn’t get the pick in on time… /eye roll
Okay, so clearly that didn’t sit well with me. Here’s four more, minus spoilers of course.
2. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell greeted at draft by cheers.
Oh, come on. Everybody knows the draft’s greatest tradition after disappointed New York Jets fans is the raucous boos that occur the moment the commish steps into plain view of the crowd. Goodell probably isn’t as loathed as former MLB commissioner Bud Selig once was or current NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is now, but why even pretend the public adores the man?
Goodell, and in turn this movie, should just embrace the fact the common fan is never going to appreciate the people responsible for meddling with the game they love.
3. Joe Banner makes unnecessary cameo
I know I’m in the minority, but I always really admired what Joe Banner accomplished with the Philadelphia Eagles. Then he did what he did with/to the Browns, and I wonder if I wasn’t giving him too much credit all these years.
Anyway, his appearance in this motion picture was as completely pointless as that little introductory paragraph. It happens in pretty much the very last scene, the fictitious owner of the Browns shaking the real-life executive’s hand, and that was it. Banner’s mean mug on the big screen for no reason at all. It’s was supposed to be a drama, not a horror movie.
4. Chris Berman
This guy isn’t any better playing broadcaster in fictitious story than he is in real life. Reminded me why I don’t watch ESPN’s NFL anything coverage.
5. Dennis Leary says the Dallas Cowboys win. “A lot”
This immediately and instinctively prompted the following snide remark from my chair: “Yeah, 20 years ago.” Seriously, Leary’s head coach character should’ve come from the New England Patriots if the writers wanted to make that remark.
Honorable mentions (possible spoilers)
• Hollywood: where the Jacksonville Jaguars are still more dysfunctional than the Browns.
• So the consensus top overall prospect is just gonna storm out of the green room when he doesn’t go No. 1, and none of the networks are going to mention that?
• Seriously, you would have to be like the worst GM in the history of GMs to trade up for the No. 1 pick and a) not take the player you traded for in the first place, then b) take a guy instead who was in danger of falling to the second round.