Hey Radicals, gotta say that it’s great to be in a new week, particularly after the awful one we just came out of. I’ve been pretty anxious to get to this week, not just because I can get back to my regularly scheduled life, but also because this week is a pretty important one for quite a few conservatives…
Overpaid pundits who have bad hair and no clue. Massive amounts of money changing hands. Incestuous adviser-class opportunists making big decisions. Speculation running rampant even years ahead of the big day. Top Candidates turning out to be busts.
No, it’s not Election Day all over again, it’s NFL Draft week!
So as to not completely alienate those in my reader-base who are not football fans (including my editor) I just want to start off by saying that no, I’m not going into the weeds on teams or draft strategies or the myriad upsides of Barkevious Mingo. What I do want to examine, however, is the huge popularity of the NFL Draft, the curious way that it gets covered (not just by the media, but by the fans too) and what our movement can learn from this odd ratings juggernaut.
Yeah, I’m going there. I’m linking the NFL Draft to politics and I don’t think it’s much of a stretch either, but I’ll get to that later. On to popularity.
The NFL Draft’s popularity is, in no small part, due to the popularity of NFL. That bit is obvious, but what’s NOT obvious is its rate of growth in popularity. This article in The Guardian cites numbers from ESPN stating that viewership has gone up by 100% from 2001 to 2010, even outpacing the Super Bowl’s percentage gain during that same time period. The article then goes on to speculate that the Draft’s upward trend is caused by good marketing combined with America’s infatuation with reality TV. I agree with both of those stances somewhat, but I’m more inclined to believe that the real cause of the Draft’s popularity boom lies elsewhere.
My chief suspects? Humanity’s voracious addiction to information, and our favorite place for a fix; The Internet.
My team, the New York Jets, had an awful season last year. It was so bad, even Todd Akin had a more successful November than the Jets. Smelling the scent of loserdom (which smells very much like AXE body spray) early, I turned to the Internet to figure out how my team could get better. I can’t tell you how many hours of college highlight footage I’ve watched in the intervening months, though I’m fairly certain it wasn’t healthy. What I can tell you is that I searched exhaustively for any and all analysis on who and how my team needed to draft. And I found it! Scouting for the best new blood is no longer just something a select few professionals do for large amounts of money, it’s now something that quite a few passionate bloggers do on the cheap and deliver to fans by the ton in the form neatly-wrapped articles. That information is supplemented by the traditional and desperate sports media.
You see, when Football Season ends, the traditional sports media finds itself in a bit of a pickle; February is a long ways away from Baseball Season, and almost no-one cares enough about the NBA to focus on it for more than a few seconds at a time. What’s the solution to your ailing ratings? NFL Draft segments, of course! The sheer number of players going into the draft, combined with the lack of more important things to cover, leads to weeks of conference, team and player profiles. That extensive coverage builds familiarity with who the draft choices are, what your rivals need, and what your team needs. (Or at least is speculated to need.) That familiarity makes you more invested in your team, creating a sort of vicious cycle of ever-increasing information gathering/team fervor. You want your team to succeed, so you feel the need to rewatch those Bowl Game clips. I mean, what if there’s something that the team didn’t see!?!
Okay, so maybe I’m not a typical football fan, but I assure you that people really do go in depth into their team’s draft prospects, if in a less frequent and spasmodic manner. And that’s why I think it’s important for us conservatives to study the draft.
Think about it: if we could tap into even a fraction of the dedicated information-gathering fans that Football garners, the conservative movement would be set. How do we accomplish that? Why not try copying it?
Elections are, essentially, one-person drafts decided by fans. Why not try marketing them like that? There would be considerable cross-over appeal; conservatism and sports are a match made in heaven. The RNC would be foolish to not to try it. Even at a local level, “draft profiles” would be an outstanding way to package a candidate’s information in a format that people outside of politics are familiar with. If multiple seats are up for election, adding new “players” becomes that much more engaging, while at the same time offering an interesting way to explain “what the team needs”.
Speaking of which, our team needs more ideas and definitely better players.
Sadly, that’s not as easy as sitting on a couch and waiting to hear which top prospect we get. We need to go out and hunt for them ourselves, maybe even write a blog post or two.
Otherwise, we’ll just keep on drafting picks like Richard Mourdock, Christine O’Donnell, Todd Akin, or Mark Sanchez.
And believe me, you DON’T want to draft Mark Sanchez.