I recently saw the movie Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner, and here are my thoughts on the film. Draft Day depicts the first day of the NFL Draft from one general manager’s perspective. And the fact that Hollywood would make a movie about the draft, pretty much lets you know just how popular the NFL has become with mainstream America.
Because this isn’t a sports movie about a team trying to win on the football field like you typically see. This is a movie about what goes on behind the scenes of an NFL team. About the gut wrenching process of putting a team together, and the emotional roller coaster ride that ensues, particularly for the teams at the top of the draft.
Kevin Costner plays Sonny Weaver, the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns and the lovely Jennifer Garner plays his salary “capologist”, with whom it’s revealed early on that he has more than just a working relationship with. And there are several scenarios in this movie that Washington Redskins fans can identify with.
You see an overbearing and meddling owner, well-played by Frank Langella, and a cocky and power-hungry head coach, played by Denis Leary. And the drama that ensues when the GM, the owner, and the head coach each want to draft a different player with their first pick, and you see who’s will wins out in the end.
Redskins fans will also recognize the scenario of a team trading up to the top of the draft, in order to take the coveted franchise quarterback. Kevin Costner’s dilemma is does he pick the player everyone expects him to, or does he go with his gut and pick the player he thinks is truly right for the team?
You also get to see the depiction of how NFL general managers wheel and deal with each other, in that they try to be as up front and as honest with one another as possible, while at the same time putting one over on the other in a trade. It’s an interesting dynamic to see played out.
As is the way teams judge a player, in that you weigh the pluses and minuses of what are mostly all good kids at heart. But more than anything this movie shows you that sometimes you just have to go with your gut instinct. Not only in your work, but in life as well. And when you make that decision with your heart, ultimately it’s always the right one.
At least that’s how it works in the movies. Because no real GM could work the kind of deals that Kevin Costner does and survive with his job intact. However, it’s still an entertaining ride, and for a draft geek like me it’s fun seeing even a fictional depiction of how an NFL front office comes to the ultimate decision of whom to pick.
There’s romantic and family issues that Costner’s character has to deal with as well, so this movie isn’t just for football junkies. There are moments that will make you laugh, and that tug at your heart-strings too. And the writers do a good job of explaining the draft process along the way, without it being too painful for those unfamiliar.
So I enthusiastically recommend this movie. Football fans will like it, and I think non-football fans will too.