NEW YORK — Just made my way to Radio City Music Hall for the first time Thursday, and there’s no denying midtown Manhattan is a bit more electric with the draft just a few hours away.
A few blocks away, the draft prospects joined Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Drew Brees and host Sterling Sharpe for a luncheon to discuss the new “Madden NFL 11″ and the draft. I sat down with Marino and Montana to talk quarterbacks — I’ll pass along those thoughts in a future blog post — and stuck around long enough to see a few of the prospects crush the buffet.
In a matter of minutes I went from talking to Marino to dodging a life-size Sponge Bob Square Pants in Times Square to getting a look at the red carpet area being set up outside the building. A few Jets fans were already milling about, but for the most part midtowners were ignoring the inconvenience of the handful of workers attempting to construct a red carpet on Sixth Avenue during the middle of the day.
That sequence is exactly what makes the NFL Draft what it is.
Inside, the finishing touches are in motion as NFL Network and ESPN prepare their final camera angles. NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora is feverishly pounding on his Blackberry keypad. Chris Mad Dog Russo is doing his SIRIUS radio show at the top of his lungs on the other side of the room. Everything seems to be as normal as it’s going to get, with three hours before the aforementioned red carpet fills up with A-listers and the primetime draft gets under way.
– Frank Tadych