My draft is coming up on Saturday. Now, I don't have kids yet, but I when I imagine the anticipation that I'll feel when my wife is about to give birth, I just picture draft day. I love it. I truly do. It's quite possibly my favorite day of the year that's not Thanksgiving. I've been running this same league, in various forms, for about 8 years. I enjoy being the commissioner, and I think that the owners in my league like the draft I put on. I've put together a small list of things that you, as a commissioner, should aim to do for your fantasy draft. Its just a little list which you can take or leave.
5. GET SOME DRAFT SOFTWARE - I know, I know. Leagues cost enough as is, and you're fine with your big bulky draft board. But why not think about moving into the 21st century? Chances are, you have a 50' Plasma HDTV, why not get some real use out of the thing, and make it the showcase of your draft. This year I'm using fantasy draft software from the folks over at www.fandraft.com. That's not a shameless plug, it's just the best that I've seen. I like that it adds a real "ESPN" feel to the draft. It's got a ticker and supports music. This will be the first year that I'm running it, and I'll let you know how it goes.
4. ADD SOME MUSIC - Last year, I spent tireless hours scouring ITunes trying to find the best music for my draft. A little bit gay? Perhaps. But it would have been awesome, had my draftmaster not forgotten the cord to hook my iPod into the laptop. When you're sitting around, opening the first beers, and eating the wings and pizza, why not have some NFL Films soundtracks playing in the background. It gets the mood set, and gets everyone pumped and ready to draft. Who doesn't get psyched with a little "Ramblin' Man from Gramblin", it makes me think of The Burger King returning a pick against the Bills every time.
8. GO SOMEWHERE DIFFERENT - Every year its the same thing. 12 guys cramped into someones living room, while his wife vacuum's under the feet of 4 fat guys stuffed onto a loveseat. Last year I asked owners to chip in an extra $20 a head, and we rented out the conference room of a posh hotel. I had each conference seated at their own tables, and it gave it a real "war room" feel. I'm not saying do this every year, but change it up now and then.
3. GO THE EXTRA MILE - One thing I do every year as the commissioner, is to make sure that I've printed out a complete draft-day packet for every owner. This ensures that you don't have to have your latest Rotowire magazine or Pro Football Weekly to have a good draft. I fill the packet with cheat sheets, roster requirements, notes about owners, etc. My goal is that every owner there has a real feel that I put a lot of effort into making the draft as exceptional as possible. Last year, I printed out one of a kind t-shirts for each owner, with the league logo and team name. This year I'm going with pint glasses with each team logo.
2. DRESS UP - Each year, I make sure to have each owner wear a shirt and tie to the draft. I myself usually wear a suit. As I've said, its one of my favorite days of the year, so why not get dressed for the occasion? I'll bet that half of my league hates it, but I think that the other half actually likes it. I always take a league picture to look back at. I was at one of my owners houses the other night, and he broke out the picture, and said that it had been hanging on his fridge' for the past year. In addition to everything else, most wives are more understanding about the draft if their husband is wearing a shirt and tie while leaving the house. There's an air of respectability to it.
1. HANG OUT A BIT - This is a tough one, because most people are ready to finish the last beer and make it home to their wives or girlfriends before it gets too late. But some of my favorite time is the immediate aftermath of the draft. Some people get buyers remorse. Some people keep drinking. But everyone judges. I recall last year, my brother and his brother in law going back and forth about who had the better team. My brothers pronounced his team, predctibly stacked with Dallas Cowboys, as the greatest team ever assembled, while his brother in law tauted the greatness of his own team. I laughed my ass off as these two dogmatic a-holes went back and forth for an hour. It might have been my favorite part of the draft.