It’s finally football season again! Well, not really, but with the amount of coverage and speculation around the NFL Draft you’d be forgiven for thinking it might be.
The draft is the ultimate non-sporting sporting event, the pinnacle of sports broadcasting that doesn’t involve anyone actually playing sports. It’s a night for hope, dreams, potential, and … mourning? At least it was last year, weirdly. We’re still not quite over that.
But what better way to watch a bunch of 20- and 21-year-olds have their dreams come true than with a drinking game? This is football after all. It’s time to celebrate vicariously, watch the biggest moment of strangers’ lives, and drink heavily while wondering aloud how exactly your team is gonna fuck it up this year. And just in case ESPN decides to lather us up with sob stories, we’ve got that covered too. Just remember to pace yourself—it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Here are the official rules for BTRtoday’s unofficial 2021 NFL Draft drinking game.
(Note: BTRtoday does not take responsibility for your inebriated decisions or team affiliations.)
Take a Drink If …
Anyone uses the phrase “it’s a quarterback league.” As many as five quarterbacks could go in the top ten picks of this year’s draft, which would be a record. And why? Because it’s a quarterback league, that’s why. Football broadcasts are built on empty phrases and platitudes, and tonight this one will take the cake. But just for good measure …
Anyone uses the following words/phrases while describing players: high football IQ, just loves the game of football, deceptively quick, gamer, grinder, not afraid to get his hands dirty/do the dirty work, takes care of the ball, gets good separation, home-run hitter, loves to air it out, has a nose for the football, happy feet, lays the wood, the kind of guy you want to go to battle/war with, north-south runner, runs downhill, punishing blocker, hits the hole
That should just about cover it. Again, remember to pace yourself. And if it sounds like a football cliche, drink.
A prospect is compared to a Hall of Famer. This happens way too often, so we’re not expecting you to keep up all night. But there’s nothing quite like the annual tradition of holding 20- and 21-year-olds to the highest possible expectations in their profession. It’s all potential tonight, baby!
Anybody on the broadcast mentions betting odds. Sports betting is legal in several states now and online sportsbooks are among the biggest advertisers of live sporting events. The NFL Draft provides a unique confluence of betting opportunities, from specific players selected to over/unders and just about everything in between. People on TV know this. They also know at least some of their audience is watching to see if that dumb last minute prop they bet hits. Betting odds will be on the brain.
A player’s dead relative is discussed. As mentioned above year’s virtual draft broadcast featured an inordinate amount of personal interest stories, which roughly translated to “personal tragedies and family death stories.” There’s a good chance ESPN pulls back on this angle after receiving tons of criticism last time around. So many players’ stories can’t be told without the adversity of losing a loved one or going through some other unspeakable personal struggle, so we don’t want to completely make light of this. But if ESPN decides to inundate us with those kinds of anecdotes, we can drink to ’em.
Any broadcasters or commercials mention “a sense of normalcy” or “getting back to normal.” Last year’s draft was entirely virtual as COVID-19 ravaged the country. There’s an in-person element this year, with several first round prospects in attendance and up to 50,000 fans allowed to attend the Draft Experience, an interactive theme park . Even the commissioner got vaccinated so he could hug the players as they take the stake and don their new team’s cap. Is it all normal? Not even close. But companies and broadcasters love saying we’re almost back to normal—the NFL most of all.
Finish Your Drink If …
The 49ers make a pick at No. 3. Okay, so here’s your first pacing rule. There’s 10 minutes between each pick and a ton of pomp and circumstance filling in the gaps. We could be as coy as San Francisco has been about who they’re gonna pick here and say only finish your drink if they take a specific guy. But after all the cliches and highlight packages and corny filmed intros you’ll want to be at least one drink in by 8:30 ET. This is a prescription more than anything.
Anybody’s mom pulls their girlfriend out of the picture. This is a nod to Tennessee Titans offensive lineman Isaiah Wilson, whose mother pulled his girlfriend off him and threw her offscreen after her son was picked. That’s the kind of motherly love that gets you to the NFL.
The broadcasts shows Tom Brady’s NFL combine pictures/video. Brady is the ultimate NFL Draft success story—a sixth rounder who went on to become the greatest quarterback of all-time and is coming off his record seventh Super Bowl title. But his pre-draft videos and pictures are still high comedy. Seriously, THIS dude turned into the best QB ever? There’s hope for all of us yet. (Or at least for those of us that are good enough to, y’know, make the NFL).
There are any trades. Trade rumors are the most enjoyable thing about following the NFL Draft. You never know just who’s gonna trade up for their quarterback of the future or trade down to acquire more picks. There are approximately 57,829 rumored trades this year, but there usually don’t wind up being that many. Still, there’s a solid chance this rule backfires, so once again, pace yourself.
Chug The Entire Bottle If …
Anybody besides Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence goes No. 1. Hey, we had to put something here. Lawrence has been a virtual lock to go first overall since he was a freshman in college. Jacksonville has been all over him since securing the number one pick. Jaguar fans even raised thousands of dollars as a wedding gift for the quarterback to donate to a charity of his choice. This is the lock of locks. Still, it’s is an early play, so it’s important to stay on your toes. If it happens, you’re probably out for the rest of the night, but the chaos that ensues might be too crazy to follow anyway.