I am listening to Bill Polian talk about his second-round pick, Tim Jennings, a short (but not small, according to Bill) cornerback out of Georgia, and I have to smile. I think about all of the armchair general managers who are freaking out over this obvious "reach" by the Colts' president, and I wish that they were sitting right beside me in the media room out at West 56th Street. I wish that they could hear how confident Polian is in this selection; how he comes across as so sure of himself and what he is doing. All of the armchair GM's would be even more besides themselves with anger. I have to laugh.
Actually, I wish that all Colts fans had the opportunity to sit in my chair for the weekend, take it all in, live "the dream". Yes, it is a dream for most fans of this team to have that opportunity; and I always remember that it is just that; an opportunity. Nothing is taken for granted, I always keep my guard up, and I always keep my enthusiasm and excitement in check. This is serious business, and it is best to be low key and fly under the radar which, if you know me, is no easy task.
I arrived at 11 a.m. Saturday morning, found the seat designated for our station, 1070 WIBC, and set myself up for the day. We are in a "media room" with rows of tables and chairs, each sportswriter, T.V. and radio station having their own space. Surprisingly, out of the 20-25 spaces, only about half are filled at any given time. I always get stuck in the back row. I don't take it personally.
There are two huge video screens set up in front broadcasting the NFL Network coverage of the draft. There is a stage with a podium in front also for when Polian and head coach Tony Dungy address the media. And there is food; a lot of food. You don't go hungry out there, that's for sure.
Shortly after Joseph Addai was selected by the Colts, members of the public relations staff distribute hard copies of his biography and statistics. A few moments later Polian and Dungy take turns addressing the media from the podium, and then field questions. They never say if they had their eyes on someone else, or get too specific about how the round went. They do get specific about what they saw in the pick, and how they think the player will contribute to the club. The main thing that stood out was how they both felt that Addai could turn an eight yard gain into twenty-two yards, and how he could "move the pile".
Shortly after that, a teleconference is set up with the LSU running back. A teleconference will follow with the next two selections as well.
This process continues on throughout the day, with Polian and Dungy addressing the media about who they chose to draft in rounds two and three. They consider Tim Jennings, cornerback out of Georgia selected in round two, as a real "run and hit" guy, someone who will come in and contribute right away. As Polian stressed, Jennings is "short, not small". They also stated that Freddy Keiaho, the linebacker grabbed in round three is a "three down player".
Things wound down around 10:30, at which time I was able to join our sports talk show and review the day. The ride home, a few hours of sleep, Sunday morning service, and back out to the complex for Day Two. It all seems to blend into one long day in some ways.
But I am fortunate in having the opportunity to be there, to hear Bill Polian speak with confidence about each selection that they have made throughout the weekend. To listen to the subtle excitement in Tony Dungy's voice as he speaks of a few more pieces of the puzzle being added to his ball club.
Addai was brought in for a press conference at noon, and one comment that he made really impressed me. He said that he wasn't a running back; he was a football player. I like that.
Once the final selection is made, Polian discusses the late-round picks, give a general overview of the draft, and touches on how they go about the process of selecting who they do. Polian stressed that you must remain true to your criteria. He has told his scouts that he doesn't want to hear "I like this guy" but rather "I like this guy because…".
There is nothing like being there. I hope that I have given you a little insight into what goes on. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
John Cimasko is the host of The Jersey Johnny Show on WIBC Radio 1070 AM out of Indianapolis. Click here to visit his webpage so you can bookmark it and listen in over the web every Sunday night!
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