Generally speaking, I don't like football movies. They tend to over-emphasize exactly the kind of rah-rah cliche laden macho bullshit that is my least favorite aspect of the sport. Sadly no one has yet to make a truly interesting movie focusing on the X's and O's of Bill Walsh's offense or told the story of Mike Leach living in a rat infested trailer park on $3,000 a year as he and Hal Mumme built the Air Raid offense at third rate college programs in Iowa. Those are the movies I'd like to see, but alas, not much interest there.
When I first heard about Draft Day, I had some hope. A behind the scenes look at the NFL draft and the way front offices approach it? Maybe it could be the football equivalent of the movie Moneyball. Once the trailers rolled out and it was obvious that the film revolved around an absolutely implausible (little did I know HOW implausible) draft day trade that Sonny Weaver, Jr. (Kevin Costner) pulls off while also dealing with his romantic and totally not at all creepy and unprofessional relationship with his much younger capologist, Jennifer Garner, I quickly lost any positive feelings I had towards the movie. But, my wife managed to get us free tickets to a pre-release screening and oh my God was this film amazing in all of the wrong ways. I'll just cover a few here:
I'm only going to focus on the football aspects of the movie here, so I'm not going to get into the other plot, which couldn't decide which sympathetic angle to work with old Sonny Weaver (his father was a football legend and he had trouble following in his shadow! His girlfriend is pregnant! His football legend father just died! His mother hates his pregnant girlfriend, probably because the mother of her future granddaughter is young enough to plausibly be her actual granddaughter) so it just throws all of them at him and hopes you'll root for this poor underdog. It doesn't really work.
Football wise, here's just a few things that are unrealistic about this movie:
-Apparently if you don't have the first overall pick in the NFL draft, you don't even bother fucking scouting the top prospect in the draft. Nevermind that I guarantee you every team and their mother knew exactly how much Andrew Luck's farts smelled like eggs and the fact that teams like the Ravens had Jamarcus Russell at the top of their draft board in 2007 despite the odds of drafting him being as remote as me being their top pick, apparently in Draft Day world a team picking at #7 doesn't bother to scout Bo Callahan, the movie's Andrew Luck (with a Ryan Leaf attitude! Red flag!) so when they get the chance to trade THREE first round picks to move up to select him, they decide to make the trade and THEN realize they need to look into this kid.
-Apparently you don't watch all of your top prospect's games even it is the guy you Knew you wanted. Okay, fine, you don't watch the QB you don't think you have a shot in hell of landing. The GM makes it clear throughout the movie that his true heart's desire is OLB Vontae Mack, and that he was going to take him "no matter what." Then, an hour before the goddamn draft, Costner has to have someone explain to him that Mack was ejected from a game that season. You're telling me a GM scouting a player doesn't even watch all of his games from that season and know he got ejected?
-Nobody scouts anyone at all, actually. At one point Sonny calls the Jaguars to make his third or fourth trade of the damn day and the Jaguars guy is all freaked out because OMG Sonny Weaver, Jr shocked the damn world and took Vontae Mack with the first overall pick and other teams, so stunned and scared by the Browns passing on Bo Callahan, refuse to take him and instead take the TWO PLAYERS TOTAL that the Jaguars GM was prepared to draft. That's it. He had two guys scouted, apparently. Great work. This must be how they ended up with Blaine Gabbert.
-The movie makes Dennis Leary's character, the new head coach, look like an asshole because he frequently points out that the trade Costner makes (THREE NUMBER ONE PICKS FOR A QB YOU NEVER EVEN SCOUTED) is stupid, and terrible, and fucks their future, and that they still have a ton of holes because they are the Cleveland Browns. Do you know how hard you have to fuck something up for me to scream "JESUS PEOPLE LISTEN TO DENNIS LEARY?" The answer is A Lot.
-The movies big plot point (the trade) and its triumphant moment (major spoiler: Sonny Weaver, Jr, manages to trade back into the first round and trade his newly acquired pick back to Seattle, the team that gave the #1 pick to Cleveland in the first place, in order to get his first round picks back ) hinge on the fact that Seattle likes Callahan but can't afford him, and only agree to trade back with Cleveland and take him at #6 because his price tag drops by 7 million thanks to his new draft position. This is stupid not only because the new CBA pays first rounders absolutely bupkus, but also because there's no way in hell a team bad enough to get the #1 overall pick is also so cap strapped they can't spare 7 million to draft the top prospect. Cut somebody, guys. You were just the worst team in the league.
-While we're on the subject of cap room, my wife pointed out while I was ranting that right when the Browns first trade for #1, Sexy Capologist Jennifer Garner points out that they will have to move things around to accommodate the increased pay of the #1 pick. Then the Browns end up with two picks in the top 7, and apparently no cap problems whatsoever. A minor quibble, but more evidence that this movie was put together by people who know as much about football as my cat.
-Nobody knows who they're going to draft before draft day, anyway. There are no scenarios like "we want Bob if he falls to us, and if not we want Tim, or Jake, or Jack". Nope. Kevin Costner scribbles the guy he hopes will be available on a quarter pounder wrapper or something and then sticks it in his pocket and decides to see what will happen whenever he gets in to the office around noon. That's right, Kevin Costner, GM of the Browns, arrives to the facility ON DRAFT DAY sometime around lunch, after taking the time to listen to sports radio, talk to his mother, spread his father's ashes, and meet the owner of the Browns at his water park (later on in the movie the owner of the Browns will fly from New York City to Cleveland to yell at Costner for passing on Callahan with the #1 pick, he will arrive before the #7 pick is taken, meaning the guy managed to get to an airport from Radio City Music Hall fly to Cleveland and get to the facility in less than an hour).
-The Breakdown of the Bullshit:
1) Costner trades the #7 overall pick in 2014, and the Browns 2015 and 2016 1st round picks, for the #1 overall pick
2) Costner drafts a linebacker who was projected to go #15 at best, but who is portrayed as a really good kid who likes his nephews a lot, #1 overall, stunning the world
3)Other teams, using the time tested axiom of "if the Browns didn't want him, he must not be a good draft pick", pass on Callahan until pick #6
4) The Jaguars trade Costner the #6 pick for his 2014, 2015, 2016 2nd round picks. I can actually believe the Jaguars are dumb enough to do this, so I'm not holding this one against the movie.
5) Costner calls the Seahawks "bluff", says he totes knows they really wanted the QB after all and will trade them the #6 pick to get his three first rounders back, plus a star returner. Seattle says okay.
6) Costner uses the #7 overall pick on a runningback from Florida State (it's actually Arian Foster, so if there's one thing dumber than using the #7 pick on a runningback it's using it on a guy who has already been in the league for years and has a ton of injury issues, guys) and this is considered a good thing because runningbacks are totally worth top ten picks still.
7)Everyone is happy. Costner traded three 2nd round picks to pick up an extra first round pick, basically, and turned those two first round picks into a LB that the movie constantly points out was considered a back of the first round prospect by everyone else and a runningback. This is a great victory. Jesus Christ.
So that's Draft Day in a nut shell. On the way to the car I called it just slightly less realistic than Air Bud: The Golden Receiver. Now that I think about it, though, wasting 3 2nd round picks just to trade up for a pick instead of trading down from #7 to get the guy you wanted Plus additional picks is probably a very Cleveland Browns move, so maybe it's not so bad after all.