1. One of the perks of living in New York City is being able to attend nationally televised events like the NFL draft and award shows, but these events are usually super exclusive.
2. Some sites offer free tickets for seat filling, the equivalent of playing musical chairs while ticket holders take bathroom breaks. The minor annoyance of moving seats hardly outweighs how awesome it is to get a free ticket to a huge event.
Fortunately, I was able to snag one of these coveted tickets for this year’s NFL draft.
3. This is what it’s like to attend the NFL draft.
4. You’ll arrive an hour and a half to two hours before the draft begins, and you’ll already find fans lined up in their best outdated jerseys. After taking your place behind three Brady Quinns, you’ll start to realize the fundamental flaw in this event.
5. The NFL draft is probably the only event (except maybe the Pro Bowl) where each team’s fan base is represented — an hour and a half is a long time to be surrounded by your enemies.
6. Once inside, seat fillers are ushered down past Mel Kiper and six long rows of tables where the front office personnel act as messengers for their teams.
7. You’ll be escorted to the front of the house, close enough to wave at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
SPOILER: He won’t wave back.
8. After you get settled and take approximately 25 photos of the spectacle, you will wait. The NFL draft, whether viewed at home or in person, is largely comprised of waiting.
9. At this point, you’ll dig into your gift bag and check for Wi-Fi. Both of these perks were free, which will come as a surprise to anyone with a passing familiarity with the NFL.
10. The process of watching your favorite player get picked by the team just ahead of yours is very much the same in person as it is from your couch — infuriating.
11. And then before your team’s next pick, producers will begin searching through the audience for fans of your team to appear on camera. Oh my god, you’re going to be on TV. Look excited!
“Running back who? From where? YAY! WOO!”
12. After all that excitement, give yourself an opportunity to walk off the adrenaline and explore the rest of the event.
13. You can buy a customized draft T-shirt for only $30 (pretty low for NFL standards).
14. You can also have your photo taken (for free!) pretending to be drafted.
OK, when does the NFL paycheck come in?
15. Next, head upstairs and you’ll find yourself blinded by a gleaming Lombardi trophy. Oh, and it will be surrounded by Super Bowl rings.
16. The security dudes are pretty chill. This will probably be your only opportunity to take a selfie with a Lombardi. Don’t pass it up.
17. By this time, your team should be nearing its next pick. You’ll return to the VIP section, choosing a new seat on the other side of the stage.
18. This seat offered a beautiful view of a guy wearing a Richie Incognito jersey. In May 2014.
19. In fact, you’ll realize more than a few people around you have spent a lot of money on their draft day outfits.
That was quick.
20. Fedora-clad Broncos dudes.
21. DRAFT DAY ‘14.
22. The draft will come to a close after about four hours, nearly six hours after you first stood in line behind those fans of that damn rival team.
23. And your evening of watching young men achieve a goal they’ve worked their entire lives to reach will have come to an end. Until next year, when you’ll probably go back to watching at home.
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