What Roger Goodell wants to do is scream, or storm off the stage, or at the very least loosen his damn tie. But he can't do any of those things, because the camera -- controlled remotely, mind you -- is still on him, just as it has been for the last 23 minutes. And Roger Goodell is not about to admit the 2015 NFL Draft has completely fallen apart.
So he stands off to the side, smiling thinly and waiting. The seconds drag on and on until he feels his pocket buzz. Trying to seem at ease, he casually takes his phone out and checks the message. It's the Falcons, and they've submitted their first round draft selection. Goodell walks over to the lectern and places his phone on it. He looks at the camera and announces:
"With the eighth pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select...Vic Beasley, linebacker, Clemson."
And then, just as there was when Jameis Winston went with the first pick, and just as there was when Marcus Mariota went with the second, and just as there was with every other draft selection after them, there is nothing. No clapping. No booing. Nobody comes onto the stage to shake Goodell's hand, though he still spends two minutes rifling through a box of pre-made jerseys to find the Atlanta one that says "BEASLEY" on the back. Dutifully, he holds it up, as if a rookie will materialize before him. He waits for what feels like a sufficient amount of time, walks back to the box, and puts the jersey back in.
Roger Goodell walks back to his waiting corner. How had this farce even come to be? It was one thing when the predicted first pick decided he wouldn't be attending. And when Mariota had bailed, well, Goodell couldn't very well force one rookie to show up while another stayed home. From there, it was like watching dominoes clatter onto a table. More players declined their invitations. Then the Cowboys indicated they'd rather participate from their offices in Dallas. "You're going to leave me all alone," Goodell had joked to Jerry Jones at the time. "Don't be ridiculous, Rog," Jerry said. "We'll make sure you have a buddy there."
Tapping his phone through his pants pocket, the Commissioner turned ever so slightly to glimpse the camera feed of the green room.
Damn that mummified piece of Little Rock shit.