Regarding the movie “Draft Day, a lot of the action, with regards to football, takes place off the field. The wheeling and dealing and high stakes decisions made by coaches, team investors and general managers is enough to induce some pretty serious stress, or at the very least, a lot of sleepless nights. I’ve watched football with my older brothers, but don’t profess to know a whole lot on the subject. What I do know is that there’s a lot of money to be made and if you have some pretty talented quarterbacks or linebackers, then that’s half the battle. Not to mention the monetary value and worldwide prestige that being on a popular team or championship team can bring.
Kevin Costner plays Sonny Weaver Junior, who is the general manager of the Cleveland Browns. This team needs a boost. Actually, what they really need is a miracle. If they could just get a star player on their team, their chances of winning would vastly improve; not to mention boost team morale and put critics in their place. Having a losing team just adds to the many pressing issues Sonny Junior is facing: his mother is very upset with him for missing his late father’s reading of the will. That would certainly estrange a child from their parent. Sonny Junior did not get along with his father, Sonny Senior – who used to coach the Browns until he was fired by his own son – what’s that saying that you should never go into business with family? Sonny Senior ended up passing away before draft time.
Sonny Junior also has a secret. Well, this secret won’t stay under wraps for much longer, as his girlfriend is pregnant with his child. The fly in the ointment here is that the woman in question is Ali Parker, who just happens to be the football team’s salary cap analyst. I suppose it’s definitely not a good idea to mix business with pleasure but it appears that Sonny Junior doesn’t play by any rules.
Enter Bo Callahan, who has the Heisman Trophy under his belt. This guy is in the “first pick” – meaning that he is a valuable commodity for any team to scoop up. What I didn’t know about football drafts is the incredible amount of strategic planning and money that is invested in all the behind the scenes action. Stress levels are high, tempers flare and coaches, general managers and analysts all tend to nitpick and get really agitated with the whole situation. No wonder: it felt like there was a lot of posturing and jockeying for leverage on who gets the best picks for the first rounds of the draft. The current quarterback, Brian Drew, isn’t really pulling his weight and team owner Anthony Molina orders that a trade take place. The Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns end up doing a trade: the Seahawks want Callahan and the Browns give their first round draft selections for the next three years to the Seahawks, in order to get the first pick in the current draft.
Fans are displeased and want the general manager of the Seahawks, Tom Michaels, fired. Although Bo Callahan looks good and comes with a cost, some people aren’t thrilled with him as first pick. Coaches have their own way of doing things and having to retrain and show a rookie how to do things on the field that everyone else knows can be tiresome or bad for team morale. Head coach Vince Penn is not a happy camper: although he feels Bo Callahan is an excellent quarterback, he has his eye on another talented player: Ray Jennings from Florida State. Personalities conflict. Tempers flare. Is Callahan really worth the hype? Are there others out there that have been overlooked or undervalued? Is Callahan what the team truly needs? Can he bind the team and bring them to glory? Or is he just another leatherhead who is all smoke and no fire? These are questions that appear with every draft as players are vetted extensively by NFL teams in training camps, pro days and the NFL Combine. It’s not at all uncommon for backroom deals to suddenly appear and shift the draft in an entire different direction, sometimes abandoning players thought to be a “sure thing.”
Weaver completely throws in a monkey wrench by choosing a line back named Vontae Mack from Ohio State. This choice isn’t readily accepted by all and once again, personalities clash and shouting matches take place. Sonny Junior and Anthony Molina are once again at odds with each other. And to think I thought that all the rough and tumble action was reserved for the actual football stadium. Boy was I ever wrong. I guess after watching how some of the negotiations go down, general managers and team owners really need to be careful and very selective as to who they want on their team and if they have the money to secure the best talent for their team, it’s an advantage. But, they really have to believe in the quarterback, linebacker or running back enough to want to bring them on board. A lot of this boils down to raw talent, drive, determination, a proven athletic performance and a good reputation.
If you enjoy football or are in need of an education to the in’s and outs of what goes down between the other power players, then this is a film for you. Many sports legends, such as Super Bowl winning head coach Jon Guden (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Super Bowl winning Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Rice, Cleveland Browns legend Jim Brown and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also portray themselves in the film. Let’s hear it for football and let’s check out the original trailer.
‘Draft Day” debuts on HBO SATURDAY, MAY 2 at 8:00pm.