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What It’s Like to Attend the NFL Draft


For all of today’s photos, click to enlarge

[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from Brian Crago, who recently got to attend the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft. Enjoy. ”” PL]

By Brian Crago

My buddy was selected in the online lottery and won two tickets to attend the NFL Draft for the second and third rounds last Friday night. He asked me to be his plus-one, and I happily obliged.

There were plenty of things to check out at Draft Town, a separate outdoor fan-fest set up in Grant Park. There were two giant makeshift airplane hangars, one filled with activities and another filled with a secondary outdoor stage:



There were several Combine-style activities set up for anyone to try: kicking field goals, the 40-yard dash, etc. I tried my hand at the high jump, and let’s just say that my 28.5″ was adjusted for inflation:



The activities hangar had several uni-notable items. There was a history of the Bears uniforms on display, which I think are typically on display at Soldier Field, and there were also busts of the Bears’ Hall of Famers:


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Wilson, the football manufacturer, had an area where a woman was making actual footballs from leather and laces [I bet she works at the Wilson factory in Ada, Ohio, which I wrote about back in 2011 ”” PL], and there was also a display of all of the previous Super Bowl logos. In addition, each team had a tent with a replica player locker and a few other displays.

Once inside the actual auditorium, I was given a swag bag with several goodies inside. The bag itself was of pretty good quality — it looked like a jersey and was made of actual jersey mesh, with an NFL Draft logo on the “collar” (and, unfortunately, a Skittles ad patch). It seemed more durable than the typical plastic/vinyl backpack variety that are often given away at games. Inside were the typical samplings, such as granola, Skittles, a chip clip, a car charger, a lapel pin, football cards, a draft cheat sheet which was similar to an MLB scorecard, and a one-ear FM radio:


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The radio actually came in very handy. Inside the auditorium there were two giant display screens, one featuring the NFL Network broadcast of the event and another featuring the ESPN broadcast. The radios were tuned to each of the broadcasts on different channels, so you could switch back and forth in real time to hear what the pundits were saying. Great idea.

Naturally, lots of fans were wearing jerseys. One of the weirdest ones was this Brett Favre Packers/Jets mash-up:


Finally, here’s a video of Dick Butkus announcing the Bears’ second-round pick, which I think does a good job of taking the temperature of the room:

All in all it was a good experience. Glad I went.

•  •  •  •  •

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Check out this set of “Hi Gloss Grand Slam” stickers from Fleer. Love the typography, eh? This set would be spring of 1978, I believe, since it references the “National League Champion Dodgers” and the “World Champs” Yankees. Now on with this week’s finds:

• Look at this Kentucky Colonels photo. Some player named Pierre Russell, who looks rather serious in his blue suede Adidas. I was a Colonels nut and don’t recognize this guy, but he joined the team fall of 1971, which is right when I moved to Dallas and became a Chaps fan.

• The 49ers have been in the uni news recently (ahem), so this is a good time to reflect on the glory days of John Brodie, Gene Washington, and Ken Willard with this 1972 Niners poster.

• Here’s a 1970s Saints bicycle reflector! Just snap this onto your Schwinn Spyder’s spokes and go, daddy, go!

• Didn’t you hate it when a product would come out and the manufacturer didn’t have the rights to the team logo? Like this Icee cup with Dave Parker of the Pirates — looks like he’s wearing a Twinkie on his head. At some point the logos did eventually appear, as seen on this one with Dick Ruthven of the Phillies.

• I believe I did in fact own one of these: a nice 1970s conservative brown tie adorned with the original Bengals helmet logo.

• The Swingin’ A’s want you to Make It Happen with this 1970s button. I guess they mean a Series title?

• The 1970s Braves are a little more to the point with their bumper sticker slogan. “Wait ’Til This Year.”

• Here’s a National League canvas tote bag. The seller says it’s from the 1960s, but it looks more like 1970s.

• Never get tired of the look of these vintage Cubs game programs, like this 1960s edition from a game against the Cards.

Follow Brinke on Twitter: @brinkeguthrie

• • • • •


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Blissed out on lists: A friend of mine was recently doing some spring cleaning, tossing things out, etc., and said she was going to chuck a big pile of to-do lists (shown above), which she had saved several years’ worth of. I often make to-do lists myself, but it’s never occurred to me to save them, in part because my cross-out style is to completely obliterate an item from a list, to the point where it’s completely illegible. So if I saved my lists, they’d just be rows of indecipherable cross-outs.

Anyway, my friend’s habit of saving her to-do lists seemed like an intriguing confluence of two obsessive tropes ”” listmaking and collecting ”” so I asked if I could have the lists, and she agreed to give them to me. Now that I have them, I’m not sure what to do with them, but it feels like an art project waiting to happen. A website? A gallery show? A zine? Hmmmmm.

• • • • •

T-Shirt Day! Today is Cinco de Mayo, and I figure many of you who ordered this month’s design from the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club will be wearing your shirts. If you want to share a photo of yourself in your T-Shirt Club finery, feel free to post your photos on Twitter, using the hashtag #UWcinco, okay? Okay.

• • • • •

Uni Watch News Ticker
By Garrett McGrath

Baseball News:I don’t like the way many players dress,” says former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. Scroll down to No. 12 on that list for further details (from Kurt Esposito). … “Cute bat knob decals for Matt Adams,” says Elena Elms. “Big City is his ironic nickname, since he’s from a very small town in PA.” … Washington Nationals player Michael Taylor’s flattop is the star of his bobblehead (from Tommy Turner). ”¦ Yellow versus yellow: high school softball game in Harrisburg, Oregon. Harrisburg is at bat and Pleasant Hill is in the field (from Alex Allen). ”¦ The Cubs haven’t yet worn their alternate grays this season. ”¦ Looks like Cardinals skipper Mike Metheny has been wearing an Under Armour undershirt (from Tommy Schmidt).

Pro and College Football News: Former Raiders RB Marv Hubbard died yesterday. Here he is wearing one of those exterior-padded helmets that were briefly popular back in the day (from Ryan Dowgin). ”¦ Here’s a graphic that shows the Canadian college football jerseys for the upcoming season (from Jim Mullin). ”¦ The areana team the Las Vegas Outlaws wore jerseys designed by the artist Michael Godard for last night’s game against the L.A. Kiss (from Tim Capper).

Hockey News: The Manitoba Moose have announced their return to the AHL and unveiled new logos and uniforms. The jerseys are basically the same thing worn by their parent club, the Winnipeg Jets, but with the Moose logo on the chest (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Someone showed up at last night’s Caps/Rangers playoff game in a Winter Classic blazer.

Soccer News: FC Bayern Munich player Robert Lewandowski is wearing one scary mask (from Mike Raymer). … New kits for the Celtic Football Club (thanks, Paul). … This photo could be of Chelsea’s new kits for next season (from Gene Traxler). ”¦ “Juventus Turin clinched the Italian Serie A title last weekend while wearing a shirt advertising Expo 2015, the World’s Fair taking place in Milan this summer,” says Bern Wilms. “Turin and Milan are rival cities in close proximity to one another, so it would seem a bit odd to see the Expo advertised by Juventus rather than AC Milan or Inter Milan. As usual, it’s all a question of corporate interests: Juventus are owned and sponsored by Fiat, who are also a global sponsor of Expo 2015 and decided to surrender the space on the shirt usually occupied by Jeep.”

Grab Bag: Here’s an online guide to North Carolina’s college mascots (from James Gilbert). … “I’ve seen high schools borrow college and pro logos before, but this is a new one for me,” says Chris Thiele. “A high school using the EA Sports logo from the Roosevelt Relays in Dayton, Ohio, this past weekend.” … Here’s a blog post about rugby referees wearing pink (from Roberto Santiago). … Finally, pre-stained printed T-shirts are available for all the slobs out there (thanks, Mike).

•  •  •  •  •

Get out the black armband: As I was getting ready to go to bed last night, I got the news that Josh Ozersky — the only person I’ve ever met who liked meat more than I do — had died. He was only 47.

I first met Josh about a dozen years ago, when we were both up-and-coming food writers. But for me, food writing was just one gig among many; for Josh, it was his calling and his ambition. In recent years he’d become one of the best-known and most influential food scribes in the profession.

Josh cultivated relationships with a wide range of chefs and restaurateurs, and he was knowledgeable about all sorts of cuisines, but his first love, his true love, was meat. He wrote a book about the best meat in New York (under the pseudonym Mr. Cutlets), another about the history of the hamburger, and another about Col. Sanders. He also organized and hosted Meatopia, which began as his annual private birthday party in New York (I was lucky enough to be invited to some of the early ones — here I am at the 2007 edition) and grew to become a nationwide series of meat festivals.

When I met Josh, he lived just a few blocks from me. We’d hang out, cook, eat, drink, talk about girls. I’d invite him along with me if I was reviewing a restaurant and he’d return the favor. He could be irascible and unpredictable, but he was also a formidable intellect (he had a Ph.D. in American history), and he had some serious writing chops. As his food-writing career took off and my work became dominated more and more by Uni Watch, we didn’t see as much of each other. He eventually moved to Manhattan, and then to Portland, but I kept following his writing and media projects. I last spoke to him about 10 months ago, when I got a few quotes from him for a business article I was writing about the hot dog industry.

Josh died in Chicago, where he was about to attend the annual James Beard Awards. The cause of death is unclear, with an autopsy planned for today. He was a real New York character, and one of the most distinctive personalities I’ve ever known. He’ll be missed. R.I.P.

Comments (57)

    First, my condolences for the far-too-early loss of your friend.

    So, your draft swag bag had cards printed (and imprinted with) the NFL on it, of college players, in their full NCAA regalia.

    Just when I thought this whole imbroglio couldn’t get any weirder. The imp in me asks: Did Winston, et al, get paid for their likenesses?

    I would assume those players were paid, and that it isn’t an issue. They’re done playing NCAA football so they aren’t bound by any of those rules anymore. Also, card companies have been printing NFL cards with players in their college uniforms for at least 20 years, although back when I still collected they typically also featured the team the player had been drafted by. I’m not sure how long they’ve done them for undrafted players.

    Nope. NCAA holds image rights for perpetuity. That’s one of the reasons Ed O’Bannon sued the NCAA, because he was showing up in video games and not getting any royalty.

    Somewhere in an NCAA office: “Jameis Winston may have declared for the draft, but his likeness still has eligibility.”


    “Base-Ball Trad-in’ Cups” I still remember the jingle!

    An Icee at 7-11 would be blasphemous!!

    Sorry for the loss of your buddy. I’ll have a burger for both of you today.

    Not true about the Cubs. They wore the grays with “CUBS” across the chest back on April 11 in Denver.

    Correct its their regular road jerseys we haven’t seen. Even though they’ve worn the pants with the blue tops and we saw a video of them making up Kris Bryants jersey.


    Yep, that’s my bad. Figures, the only Cubs game I didn’t watch this year is the one when they wore a gray jersey, other than the 1990 throwback at Cincinnati a few Fridays ago.

    For the record, 7-11 stores in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area are independently owned and serve Icy Drinks, not Slurpees. Here is a link to a photo:
    Still, they are not to be confused with Icees.

    “… Now that I have them, I’m not sure what to do with them, but it feels like an art project waiting to happen. A website? A gallery show? A zine? Hmmmmm….”

    Re gallery show. Hackneyed advice, probably, but you might try to unearth some to-do lists of persons well-known to gallery-goers. Susan Sontag’s to-do list; Jackson Pollack’s to-do list (“tarp for garage”); David Bowie’s to-do list. Not as the main element of the show but as a flavor to entice the fashionable. If you had one or two celeb lists in hand, then securing others would be much easier, especially if one celeb could hit up another and start a chain. Invoice TK.

    Almost seems to call out for interactivity, whether in a gallery setting or online. The visible lists appear to have both Done and Undone elements. What about documenting the doing of the undone items, or challenging viewers/readers to do the tasks and create documentary artwork of it – photos, essays, comics, whatever.

    Robert Lewandowski is wearing the mask after suffering a broken jaw, broken nose and a concussion in last Tuesday’s game. Amazing.

    Amazing’s one word. Foolhardy is too. While I certainly hope Lewandoski avoids further injury, the severity of his recent injuries makes it insane for him to even consider playing.

    Then again, that the team is operating sans medical staff ATM isn’t helping matters any.

    Technically, the game day mediCal staff is the one from their under-21 team pressed into service. And the team doctor has not changed, based on what i heard Raf Honigstein say monday.

    RE: Cubs Program. If you look at individual pages, you can conclude that the date of the game was Friday May 13, 1960. It lists future games on Saturday (5/14) and Sunday (5/15). Sunday, May 15 was the Cubs debut pitching performance of Don Cardwell, whom they had just acquired (possibly from Phil). Cardwell threw a no-hitter. Too bad this guy wasn’t there a couple of days later.

    Condolences to all that knew Josh.

    On a totally different note: Bowling Green High School – Forever avoid that name, Paul. Forever.

    RE: Guelph University’s college football uniforms.

    Holy (censored)! I guess they’re the Oregon of Canada? Or perhaps Maryland? I kind of like the one with the checkered shoulderpads.

    That being said, I’ve seen exactly one Canadian college football game. It was like watching an NFL exhibition game.

    That being said, I’ve seen exactly one Canadian college football game. It was like watching an NFL exhibition game.

    It was actually that good? I don’t think the CFL meets that standard most of the time.

    The third and fourth quarters, when players are throwing passes wide and low of their teammates. It was uglyball.

    Sorry for your loss Paul

    Guelph and Saskatchewan are the Oregon and Maryland of Canadian college football . . . .

    I went to the 2007 Draft and even though I saw Brady Quinn falling and it was considered one of the best drafts in recent memory, it was one of the worst sport experiences of my life.

    My biggest issue was just how insanely long and boring it was. We all had different teams we were interested in. Initially we planned on staying the whole time. If you don’t remember, the first round that year took SIX HOURS. Teams were taking their entire 15 mins every time. Then there were a few trades right at the end of their times which started the next 15 mins. Soon we said “after the First round.” We started saying “Ok I just want to see the Bears pick…” Then “Carolina” Finally we ended up leaving after the 49ers picked. I think we were there for 2 and a half hours.

    Anyway, we got some swag but not as much as you got. They had the radios back then too which was nice. But I can’t say I’ll ever go to a draft again.

    Sorry for your loss. Josh sounded like a great guy & sure there’ll be many that are hurting and missing him.

    On facebook this morning Anthony Bourdain updated his status that when the shit talk stops about Ozersky, let us remember his beautiful sentences. No idea who he was talking about. Thanks for the update.

    I wasn’t familiar with Ozersky, but anyone who has the admiration of both Paul Lukas and Anthony Bourdain must have been pretty special. Condolences to Paul and to all his loved ones.

    On a lighter note, those Outlaws jerseys are really clever. It’s hard to really tie a football jersey into the team name without losing the simplicity of football uniforms, but that does the job well.

    Nerdy technicality (that’s what this site is for, right?) is that it is Juventus or maybe Juventus FC. Not Juventus Turin. I have also seen on German sites things like Arsenal London, and in England we are prone to say Ajax Amsterdam, which is also incorrect (it’s AFC Ajax or just Ajax).

    And while we’re still aboard the Nitpick Express, there’s no “the” before “Celtic”, just “Celtic” (at least the submitter didn’t do the annoyingly common “Glasgow Celtic”).

    Though my understanding is that “Ajax Amsterdam” is an appropriate usage.

    It may not be the club’s preferred practice, but grammatically the “the” in that sentence is correct. As to identifying Celtic by city, there’s nothing wrong with that when addressing an audience that is not intimately familiar with the details of the Scottish FA. I mean, look, the newspaper is just called “The Times.” In America, we typically call it “the Times of London” or even, gasp, “the London Times” to make its identity clear to an audience that will otherwise confuse a reference to “The Times” with one of several better-known-in-America publications. American sports fans are getting more cosmopolitan in their knowledge of world soccer, but an unmodified reference to plain old “Celtic” is likely to leave a good number of Americans thinking something is going on with Boston’s NBA team.

    If I were a sports editor, I’d adopt the style of either “Glasgow’s Celtic FC” or “Celtic FC of Glasgow” on first reference to an American audience. Applied consistently, it would establish geographic clarity and also signal that the in-the-know usage omits the civic name.

    I’d do the same if I were running a newsroom, qualifying “Celtic” with “of Glasgow”. I wouldn’t say “Glasgow Rangers” for the same reason I wouldn’t say, “London Arsenal” or “Liverpool Everton” (I know, I know, not an exact parallel), though I think “Rangers, who play in the second tier of Scottish football” might do the trick too.

    The “the” in front of “Celtic” sounds a little like old people saying “link“, however.

    “I think ‘Rangers, who play in the second tier of Scottish football’ might do the trick too.”


    “The Celtic football club” sounded very strange to me, but “Glasgow Celtic” is well in keeping with convention. In Ireland particularly, Celtic has been a common enough name for soccer clubs and they generally adopt the “[locality] Celtic” practice (Cork Celtic, Lourdes Celtic, Belfast Celtic etc.).

    As for the others, I’ve never really heard either “Ajax Amsterdam” or “Juventus Turin” in my time. Both seem somehow wrong.

    “Though my understanding is that “Ajax Amsterdam” is an appropriate usage” says terriblehuman.

    I once contributed to a site that dealt with team colours and submitted a list of Dutch club colours, even though the site was run by a Dutchman.

    I wrote “Ajax Amsterdam” and “Feyenoord Rotterdam”.

    Ooh – did he tear me to pieces! :) No – it’s not appropriate – in the Netherlands at least.

    Odd that the Dutch consider “Ajax Amsterdam” such a nomenclature faux pas, seeing as how that’s the exact phrase on the team’s badge.


    When I lived in het Nederlands, I regularly saw “Ajax Amsterdam” in the local media on first reference. But I never heard it pronounced anything other than “Ajax.” Ajax Amsterdam should be perfectly acceptable anywhere. I mean, just link. After all, the team’s formal name translates literally as “Amsterdam Football Club Ajax.” It’s the rare example of a European soccer club whose formal name includes the city name at the start, like the Chicago Cubs.

    “and there was also a display of all of the previous Super Bowl logos.”

    Actually it looks like they’re missing a few. I only counted 43 of 49. I couldn’t find one for Super Bowl XXXV which certainly had it’s own logo.

    well several of the last few years have used the same (lame) logo too.

    I only count 43 patches, too, however Super Bowl XXXV is present, right under XIII and XV, right above Super Bowl XX and on top of Super Bowl XXIII.

    Josh Ozersky’s writing was beyond tremendous – and by the way, Paul, I like your tribute to him: “Serious writing chops.” Nice. Josh almost dared people not to like a particular dish, or cut of beef, or whatever he wrote about. As a long-time Esquire subscriber, his voice was one of the few that I truly looked forward to. My condolences, Paul, and thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories.

    Adding my voice to those offering condolences on the passing of your friend, Paul. Thoughts and prayers for all of Josh Ozersky’s family and friends.

    While we’re nitpicking a bit, that picture at the Draft you seemed to label “high jump” isn’t. The high jump would have a horizontal bar and a landing pad behind it. What your picture showed was the measure for the vertical leap, how high a person can jump straight up.

    My God! Look at the shoes on that Kentucky Colonels player. I’ve seen better sneakers in the mismatched bin at Goodwill! I know it was the ABA but still, he was a PRO basketball player.

    BTW Icee > Slurpee

    Red Sox honoring their 1975 team tonight by wearing ’75 throwbacks. Any bonus points for having the correct Massachusetts Bicentennial shoulder patch are far outweighed by the negative of wearing the current all-red stockings (at least on the starting pitcher Porcello) instead of the classic navy/white/navy/white/red stirrups. Grrrr. Details, guys, details.

    Yes, once they started I was happy to see that. I still like those better. Wonder why Pedroia and Sandoval still are wearing the plain reds?

    Changing the green to blue for the new Manitoba Moose in order to mimic the parent club is okay I guess, but changing the original brown of the moose itself to whatever washed out colour that is (a shade of grey?) is a severe downgrade.

    Ditching the unique antler number font they used to have is also a disappointment.

    Weird that celtic are going hoops to. Stripes and Barcelona are going the other way.

    The leather for the NFL footballs starts out in Chicago, at the Horween tannery. It’s a family business, and apparently one of the earlier generations was an NFL player, who leveraged that into an exclusive contract with the league.

    They sell that leather to other companies, so you can get a link or a link in “football leather”.

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