Can U SCee it? Part 5

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4/25/13 Buffalo, NY

Buddy Nix, the Bills GM, and Doug Marrone, the Bills head coach, held their breath for the gazillionth time, in anticipation of disappointment. HUGE disappointment.

“The Carolina Panthers have traded the fourteenth pick in the 2013 NFL draft to the Cardinals…” the commissioner looked up to the right. “And with that pick…” the commissioner looked up to the right. “The Cardinals select…” he looked to the left as a group of fans shouted, “Who?”

4/26/13 Buffalo, NY, J and J’s

Tom passed the hot sauce to his buddy Rob, as they shared a meal at J and J’s–the best breakfast restaurant in the world. The steaming home-fries were soon drenched in Frank’s Red Hot, as well as the eggs–over hard–and the toast, too.

“So, as I was saying, when the Cardinals traded up, I was like, “Oh, God! They’re gonna take Barkley!’ ”

“Ah hah! There you are!” Tom was interrupted. He glanced up to see the happy, brown face of the India-born owner. “I just come to see how you doing. Is everything good?”

His choppy english was replied to with many “Yes!”s. He made a small joke, which was completely un-understandable, and then the sayer of the joke laughed so hard that the hearers laughed along. He ambled away from their table, humming a little tune.

“Go on,” said Rob, still chuckling.

“Okay, so, I was flipping out when they moved up. I’m trying to think what the Bills will do if Barley ain’t there, and I can’t think of a dang thing! So then what do the Cardinals do?”

“They go and draft Barkley,” finished Rob, chuckling at his friend’s excitement. “I saw.”

“Exactly! I can’t even imagine Buddy Nix’s face, let alone what my own looks like. I’m half-dead on the couch, all slouched over, and my wife is looking at me like I’m insane. She already thinks I’m crazy for watching the draft in the first place!”

They broke into a short round of laughter, and the Indian owner yelled something about too many jokes–even though the comment itself was another joke.

“But then I look up, and see the Saints pick whoever they picked, and I’m thinking I’m probably gonna need some depression pills. Then the Bills are up, and they pick E.J. Manuel! I just stood there. I swear I didn’t move until the Steelers had picked. I was too stunned. But, when I woke up this morning, I couldn’t help but be excited. I was thinking about training camp, and preseason, all that. I still can’t wait for opening day. This is gonna be another good year, Rob, I feel it.”

“Yeah, just like you felt it last year,” smiled Rob. “But, that’s the Bills’ niche. They make their fans happy enough to buy season tickets, and then they flop.”

“To a winning season!” said Tom, raising glass.

“To a Super Bowl!” said Rob, raising his.

They clinked glasses, and their hopes were just as high as ever.

I’d like to say a little word of clarification here, as I don’t want anyone to be confused. THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION, THIS DIDN’T REALLY HAPPEN! The part in which the Bills traded with the Rams was true, and the part where the Bills drafted Manuel was true. This was a dramatization, and it was supposed to be finished before all of the guys got drafted, but it wasn’t 🙂 Who’s fault is that? Mine.

I would also like to say that I had already written the St. Louis-Buffalo trade before it happened, and I would like due kudos. I would then like to bow my head in shame, and say that I didn’t think that E.J. Manuel was the quarterback that the Bills were going to draft, but they ended up doing it anyway–without consulting me, thank you very much! 

This whole thing (the fictional tale) was planned so Matt Barkley would walk onto the stage and hold up the Bill colors, but I guess it weren’t to be, so it weren’t. E.J. Manuel got to have that emotional moment, and he certainly deserved it. His mom fought breast cancer while Manuel was still in college. Definitely not an easy thing to have going on, especially not when you’re trying to focus on playing football.

Go Bills! Who drafted the quarterback E.J. Manuel, 16th overall, in the 2013 NFL Draft.

P(ost).B(log). I would have called the series something other than “Can U SCee it,” but I honestly thought the Bills would draft the USC Trojan, Matt Barkley. I was thinking of changing it, but “Can FSU see it?” is too confusing. Why does FSU care anyway?)

Can U SCee it? Part 4

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4/25/13

Hundreds of miles apart, bonded by incredible anxiety, both the Buffalo Bills war room, and the St. Louis Rams war room, let out a collective sigh. The combined wind of exhalation would have filled a sailboat sail, and probably moved the boat a couple yards. The feelings were selfish, but in the NFL draft, you’ve got to fight for your rights, before you don’t have any.

The Jaguars had decided to forgo a wide-reciever in the first round, and instead selected Chance Warmack, a beast of guard, who was 6 feet, 2 inches, 317 pounds. He was expected to make an instant impact, and he did. At least on the Rams and the Bills.

Five minutes later the Cardinals picked up Luke Joeckel out of Texas A&M. He was a 6’6″, 307 pound tackle that would start from the start. The Bills knew that now was the time for action.

The phone rang.

Buddy Nix reached a wrinkled hand out, picked up the phone, and he said hello.

“Hey, Buddy, Jeff here, I gotta counter proposal for you.”

Buddy held his breath, as did all of the Buffalo war room occupants.

“I want to do everything you said, with our next year’s first round pick, and Fred Jackson.”

Buddy exhaled for what seemed like an interminably long time. He looked at Marrone. Marrone read Nix’s lips, and grimaced. Then he held up his hands as if to say, Why not?

“Jeff, gimme a second.”

Buddy hurriedly dialed another number, and the phone rang elsewhere in Buffalo.

“Hello, Fred? Yeah, it’s Buddy. How’d you feel about going to St. Louis?”

On the other side of the phone Fred Jackson had a bit of a dizzy spell. He sat on his couch, and found that there were tears rolling down his cheeks. He looked up at the ceiling and whispered a small prayer.

“Do what you want, Buddy,” he replied shakily. “I understand.”

Buddy heard him sobbing, and promised they would only do it if they had to. He contacted Fisher, trying to offer him the same deal.

“We don’t want that,” said Fisher. “We want Austin, but we don’t think he’s worth the amount your making us give.”

“I’m gonna take Austin if you don’t trade. I want him, but not as bad as I need those picks!”

Buddy looked at Marrone who had his fingers crossed. The offensive minded coach was crossing his fingers, though he couldn’t honestly say which version of the trade he would enjoy more.

“I’ll do it,” said Fisher. “Both first round picks. No Jackson.”

Nix pumped his fist, and nodded to Marrone, they both smiled huge smiles. After the technicalities had been worked out, they gave each other bear-hugs, and called Jackson.

“You’re stayin’ here,” drawled Buddy, loving the sound of Jackson’s enthusiastic “thank you’s”.

The Rams quickly selected Tavon Austin, and the draft continued according to schedule. Suddenly there was a rumor that Rich Eisen reported. He said it was possible that the Cardinals had just traded with the Panthers.

The Bills war room exploded into action, with Nix and Marrone demanding information on the rumored trade. Nix’s face had paled significantly, and his smile faded instantly.

“Let’s hope they don’t want him,” he said to Marrone.

Can U SCee it? Part 3

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1 Bills Drive, Orchard Park, NY

Buddy Nix was scribbling on a sheet of paper, trying to calculate the nearly incalculable values of each part of his trade. The trade he was proposing looked like this.

Get: 16th pick, 22nd pick

Give: 8th pick.

Not very complicated, but he had trust his gut on this one. He couldn’t be wrong, as his job was in jeopardy already.

That’s not how I’m picking, though, he thought. I’m picking for a brighter future, and we’re gonna have one!

He examined the trade again, and then turned his attention to the big screen. The Browns had apparently traded a few picks to the Jaguars for their first round pick. The Browns consequently selected the top rated quarterback, Geno Smith.

“One down,” muttered Nix, picking up his phone.

“Jeff,” he said after a pause. “This is Buddy, how about this?” he offered the trade.

There was an unbearably long pause on the other side, and Buddy crossed his fingers. Jeff blew out his breath, and it created a static-like sound.

“I can’t do that yet. Let’s wait until you guys are on the clock. Even then, I’d be under a heckuva a lot of heat if this doesn’t work out.”

Buddy sighed. “I understand Jeff, call me back.”

The Radio City Music Hall, NYC, NY

Roger Goodell stood at the podium once again, for the third selection in the draft.

“With the third selection in the 2013 NFL draft… The Oakland Raiders select… Jarvis Jones, linebacker, out of Georgia”

The pack of Raider’s fans erupted in cheers expecting a possible run at the playoffs! Though most of them were sensible, and were only excited because they were supposed to be.

Deion Sanders interviewed the 6′ 2″, 245 pound linebacker, and Jones posed for his pictures, holding up the Raider’s black and silver jersey, with the number one on it. His draft cap on backwards Jones walked back behind the black curtains to his family. They all hugged him, and celebrated with him. Behind them sat a very calm Matt Barkley, making light jokes with his family, seemingly oblivious to the celebration. But as Jones sat down, Barkley winked at him.

“Good job, man. You made it!”

Jones flashed him a bright smile, and a thumbs up.

The picks continued, the Eagles selected Dion Jordan, the lanky (6’6″ 248 lbs.) linebacker, who was an edge rusher. Jordan was elated to be holding the Eagle’s jersey, because his Eagles coach, Chip Kelly, coached him at college (Oregon). They’d be learning together.

1 Bills Drive, Orchard Park, NY

Buddy Nix exhaled sharply as he saw the Lions picked Tennessee wide-receiver, Cordarrelle Patterson, an unexpected pick. The pick moved Tavon Austin to the top of the board for receivers, and the Bills still had the Jaguars, and the Cardinals ahead of them. And the Jaguars were looking at receivers.

In five minutes, Buddy knew he’d know if his deal was going to work.

“Five minutes,” he breathed

Can U SCee it? Part 2

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4/25/13 20:04 hours, NY

“I know you want him,” drawled the white-haired man. “But you can’t have him unless we get this deal done, and you ain’t helpin’ it along very well.” The old man had tired eyes, and a tired mouth–tired of saying the same exact thing over and over.

In the Buffalo Bills war room, the Bills general manager, Buddy Nix, sat back down in his chair, which his excitement had removed him from. He sighed as he listened to Jeff Fisher’s deal again. He said the same thing: the Rams wanted the Bill’s first round pick, for the their first and second round picks. The only difference from the last half a dozen times Fisher had reiterated his deal, was that Nix stopped him mid-sentence.

“Jeff,” he said. “Hold up. Wait a bit, I’ll have my team work out a counter proposal, and we’ll see if we can’t make our selves a little deal.”

“Sounds good, Buddy,” said Fisher, and he hung up.

Nix rubbed his temples, and looked over to Doug Marrone, the Bills head coach. The look was a pointed one, and it was accompanied with a twinkle in the southern-bread man’s eyes. He spoke words to make it even clearer.

“We got ’em right where we want ’em.”

The Radio City Music Hall, NYC, NY

Many NFL fans decked out in their favorite team’s gear screamed with delight as the commissioner, Roger Goodell, walked out, and in his soft, somewhat scratchy, voice, announced the first pick.

“With the first pick in the NFL draft… The Kansas City Chiefs select… Eric Fisher, tackle, from Central Michigan!”

The commissioner smiled broadly as the 6 foot, 7 inch, 306 pound man came out and pound-hugged him. Many fans thought the commissioner coughing, but wrote it off to excitement. The large man wore the newest New Era hat: the 2013 Draft Cap. Held up a bright red Chiefs jersey, with the number 1 one the front.

He posed by himself, he posed with the commissioner, and he posed with Deion Sanders who then asked for an interview.

“So just how does this feel,” asked Deion, bouncing each word significantly, like he was rapping them.

“It feels good, man,” said Fisher, grinning uncontrollably. “It feels so good.”

“What do you think of your new team? What was your impression of their organization?”

“Honestly? I think the Chief’s are gonna be a threat in AFC West. We’re gone a work our butts off, and we’re gonna do it week in and week out. With our effort, the talent of Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles, and Dwayne Bowe, not to mention our defense, and well,” he smiled, “me, we’re going make things interesting, I think.”

“Confident words,” Sanders said to the camera. “From a man big enough to back them up.”

Sanders smiled as the camera man backed away, and he pound-hugged Fisher. The five minute clock had already started and showed 4:01.

“We’ve got four minutes before the Jaguars pick,” said the NFL Network anchorman. “Will they be the first to pick a QB? Find out when we come back, with live, full draft coverage.”

Can U SCee it?

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I’m going to illustrate this little fantasy of mine, so that you can University-of-Southern-C it.

It’s gonna be a series, and I honestly wish I’d thought of it earlier. I’ll publish a bit of it today, then I’ll see if I’ll continue, or if I’ll just summarize. Please, feel free to enjoy thoroughly 🙂

PROLOGUE

4/25/13, New York

In a room–curtained off by black drapes, lightly lit by soft incandescent bulbs–sat thirty or forty collegiate athletes, soon to get paychecks they’d only dreamt of. Their faces betrayed their feelings; anxiety permeating everyone’s facial features. Because their lives were about to change, their faces, inevitably, were laced with excitement. Millions of dollars were soon to be theirs. The college athletes–soon to be professional athletes–sat around, and held their phones, squeezed mothers’, fathers’, and girlfriends’ hands, trying to keep some of the emotion down. Trying, but failing. This was the NFL draft! This doesn’t happen every other Thursday. They had a right to their excitement, and they were enjoying it. At least some of them were.

Some where praying, others just laughing. Still others cracked their knuckles, and more picked at their fingernails. Some leaned back in their chairs, like children (minus the dreadlocks some had, the incredible muscles all had, and the custom tailored designer suits again, that everyone was wearing) they fidgeted, and leaned their chairs onto only two legs. Some were stoic, too afraid to show emotion. They stared at the ceiling.

One stood out, though. It and it didn’t have anything to do with his hair. The flaxen blonde hair was neatly cropped, though it hinted at a certain unruliness. He had a face that alluded to wisdom; slight creases starting at the bridge of his nose, and slanted under his eyes, along with a mouth, drawn in a line, but relaxed.

Overall he looked calm, intelligent, and commanding. Which, in fact, Matt Barkley was.

It was quarter of eight, and Barkley sat, hands folded, at one of the middle tables in the room. With him, he had his family, and they were all silent, observing his every move, in a loving, supportive way. He fought the anxiety with a certain amount of certainty and apathy. There were two teams, back-to-back, that said they’d try to get him in the first round. He didn’t have ties to either, so he had the luxury of apathy.

The two teams were Arizona and Buffalo. Arizona had the 7th overall pick, followed by Buffalo in possession of the 8th pick overall.

Barkley showed his first sign of life when he sighed.

“This is it,” he breathed. “The draft.”