By: Kevin Rousseau - Kevin's Articles are Sponsored by
April 23, 2005

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Honest to God, you'd think I'd learn.

Every year I watch only a handful of college football games, hardly pay any attention to the pre-draft analysis and swear to anyone dumb enough to listen to me that this is the year that the NFL draft does not hijack yet another April weekend of my life.

One of these years-I tell myself-I'm going to stop using the Peanuts' Lucy as my placekick holder. "This year,” I say "I'll have a more productive weekend and fish out the Augusta/Gardiner phone book and start reading out the names beginning with Abbott.” Yet on the last weekend in April every year, it seems it's cold and raining here in Maine and there aren't a lot of other palatable options available. And so I lay on the couch, have too much party mix, drink a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke and renew my love affair with jalapeno poppers.

And for what?

So I can hear Mrs. Rousseau say to me in the middle of Round 3 at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night "Why do you this to yourself? You know the consequences of putting it on.”

Take note kids, because the previous sentence was what we call a rhetorical question in the business. Each year, I fail to come up with an answer for her.

Maybe it's the annual amusement that I get when a player is selected a lot earlier than the Almighty Mel Kiper, Jr. and His Amazing Hair would have said draftee pegged. Or perhaps it's the satisfaction in knowing that the Bills will do something in their draft that will further ensure their home in the bottom half of the AFC East. Why fill a hole on your awful offensive line or on your defense when you can pick up a 5'10”, 170 lb receiver with your first pick of the day, Tom Donahoe?

Or maybe it's the irony-that for one day- being good in the NFL means being bored. I'm sure that they had draft parties in San Francisco and that the server crashed at today; but us poor fans who follow the Patriots are rewarded for winning the Super Bowl with a six hour wait for the team to make their first pick. Now how is that fair?

"The Patriots are on the clock.”

Hearing these words, you wake up from a daze, wipe the now-hardened melted cheese off your chin and stand at attention. "Ok, here's our big moment. I know they are going to take a cornerback. I follow this team. I watch every game. I even write a weekly column.”

"I know what I'm talking about.”

And then Paul Tagliabue announces the pick and you find out that you couldn't be any more wrong.

This year's offering was Fresno St. guard Logan Mankins. In retrospect, the funny thing was that everything you kept hearing about the Patriots and guards is that they did not place a high draft value on them. Patriots Football Weekly Editor Bryan Morry even went so far as to say in the draft preview issue "I will guarantee only that the Patriots won't draft a guard in the first round.”

Remind me to dig out this clipping the next time I think that PFW has inside access to the team's thinking.

Last year, the Pats threw us a 12-to-6 curveball when they selected a tight end for the second consecutive year in the first round. Given this trend, you might think that the team will select a long snapper in the first round next year to bring some depth to the position.

Don't get me wrong. I don't disagree with drafting in the first round some offensive line help this year or a tight end last year. Both selections add depth that is critical in a game that has a high attrition rate. You just never see it coming, that's all.

Look, I have no idea if any of these guys the Patriots drafted are any good. And if you say with a straight face that you do, you are either a fool or darn good liar.

Yet every year, it doesn't stop me-and many others I suspect-from trying to guess who the Pats are going to pick next. "Oh, that outside linebacker from UNLV is number one on Kiper's list of remaining prospects. We should grab him.” Honestly, have I lost my senses? I'm a transportation planner by day, not a regional scout assigned to the SEC.

So please, I beg you.

Call me up a few weeks before next year's draft. Offer to take me out golfing or to go for a nice ride along the coast up to Bar Harbor. Anything. Just don't let me do this to myself again. I have a child now and he shouldn't have to see his father in such a state of dishevelment. The only ones benefiting from this masochistic behavior of mine are potato chip and frozen snack companies.

Please help. If you can't take me out, then do the next best thing.

Send me a draft guide and a bottle of Milk of Magnesia.

Idle Zinger thoughts while wondering if Johnny Damon will be auditioning for a spot on the Color Me Badd reunion tour?

Admit it. The coincidence of the two events occurring in the same week had you wondering if Paul Tagliabue was going to come out onto the balcony at the Vatican and say "With the uhhhh first pick in the 2005 Conclave, the College of the Cardinals selects…..”

Anybody else a little uneasy about the use of the term "war room” given the ongoing real war we are currently involved in? Fox Sports Radio was even audacious enough to say that they had reporters "embedded” in teams' "war rooms.”

I've seen some scuttlebutt-can't remember where-that in order to create a little more buzz about the Pro Bowl, the Powers That Be are thinking about playing the game during the off week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.

If you're an East Coaster and hold down a job where they actually expect you to perform on Tuesday mornings, you should be pleased to know that in the new television contract Monday Night Football will kick off at 8:40 and Sunday Night Football will start at 8:15. Every half hour counts, guys.

The next time you are doing Pilates, ponder this: If the Patriots torched the Steelers on the road in the AFC Championship game, then what would the score have been against the Jets at home?

A pleading to the Patriots' brass: Whatever else you do this offseason, just make sure that Troy Brown doesn't end up wearing a star on his helmet next season. Troy Brown in any other uniform other than a Patriots outfit would be the modern day equivalent of Bobby Orr skating around in a red Chicago Blackhawks sweater in the mid-1970s.

My wife's occupation is a physician assistant. And she's a darn good one, if I do say so. Because of this, our house is loaded with these monster medical books that double as doorstops. After tripping over "Minor Emergencies” a few weeks back, I am still not convinced that neither a nasal fracture, a jaw dislocation, a "zipper caught on chin” nor a "needle (foreign body) in foot” should now be considered as such.

And even if you can't stand jalapeno poppers, I would still like to hear from you. I can be reached at [email protected].