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Saturday, April 29, 2006

2006 NFL Draft Day - Post One - Arriving At Radio City Music Hall

I got a cab and arrived at Radio City Music Hall as 9:32 AM EST. Once I arrived I met with a little problem in that my name and company name was filed in a place no one could find -- at first.

Then NFL VP of Media Relations Leslie Hammond wooshed by to take care of my relatively small issue with no time wasted. I got my badge and went in.

Radio City Music Hall is something to see. For those who visit the Grand Lake Theater, it's like it in design but about three times larger. To me it's a smaller space than Javitz last year and the fact that both ESPN and the NFL Network are sharing this space makes it all the smaller.

I'm sitting in row RR and next to Fumi Watanabe who's covering the Draft for Japanese Media and lives in New York. He's got a great love for snack chips and eats them like they're going out of style.

Behind us and to the right is the ESPN "studio" platform, where Mel Kiper, Michael Irvin, Susie Kolber, and Tom Jackson just did a segment. To my left and again behind me is the NFL Network platform, where Mike Mayock, Rich Eisen, and two other people I can't yet see from this angle are doing a report.

Around me and them are seats and TONS of media people and NFL sponsors, and the fans haven't even shown up yet. Opps, I stand corrected. They're filing in. They've got various jerseys ..But Steelers fans are in force here, just as they were at Super Bowl XL.

Once this place is full up, it's going to be a mad house.

For me this is like coming home. There's my good friend Bill Chackes who's attended every NFL Draft going back 30 years or so. There's Todd Barnes, who's now an NFL architect and helped me with Oakland's Super Bowl Bid. Then, there are people like ESPN's Mike Golic, who promised me that he's going to throw cookies at the crowd on the second day to get them reved-up. Funny guy.

But the highlight was meeting Jerry Davis, who represents the Oakland Raiders at their "Draft Table" He's been with the Raiders in this role for over 30 years. Frankly, I didn't know Mr. Davis was -- Raider Owner Al Davis' brother!


I didn't realize this until I asked him "So how did you get to have this wonderful role?" Mr. Davis answer was "Well, I'm Al Davis' brother." And with that information, I froze. He got a chuckle out of that.

We talked about Oakland and how the city can do so much better than it has; that was about it. He was looking for help with a phone problem at the time. He's a nice person. Very much like his brother in style.

Oh, all of this is on video, too

What Jerry Davis does is take the phone call from Raiders Headquarters of what their pick's going to be and gives that to an NFL "runner." The runner then takes it to the head table just next to the main podium where the Commissioner reads the name of the team picks. It's that simple.

Well, I'm off to locate the Interview room right now.

The crowd is massing - fast. ESPN's Chris Berman is walked past as well.

There's a number of media stars here, so many you need a scorecard to keep track. Geez.

I'll be back!


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