The NFL draft has zoomed past the point of being simply a major event on the sports calendar. During Saturday’s fourth round, it officially became a circus.
Congratulations, Southern California tackle Zach Banner, South Florida running back Marlon Mack and Albany State defensive tackle Grover Stewart: You were welcomed into the NFL by an orangutan from the Indianapolis Zoo. The Colts, in fact, are holding a draft party at the zoo’s orangutan center, where Azy and Rocky the orangutans made three picks in the fourth round. I’m not entirely sure which one made the pick in the above video, but he or she clearly showed good pocket presence and vision.
Of course there were jokes, some at the expense of former general manager Ryan Grigson, who was fired in January.
But not everyone saw the humor in it, among them the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, who gave his employer a piece of his mind during the broadcast.
“If we’re going back to the zoo, I’m walking off the desk,” Mayock said, per Pro Football Talk. “I’ve about had the zoo, Okay? Enough. Enough. I mean, is this good TV?
“I think we’ve got to be a little respectful,” Mayock continued. “It’s a big day for Grover Stewart, and rather than talking about that chimp, let’s get back to some football here. It’s a big day for him.”
According to Pro Football Talk, Mayock then kept at it. This came after PFT tweeted that the NFL perhaps had told its announcing crew to stop with the complaining about the remote picks.
This is entirely silly. It’s not like the fifth round of the NFL draft is some sort of sacred television space. If not an orangutan, it would have been some sub-Goodell NFL functionary no one’s ever heard of making the pick. How is that better?
After the NFL Network’s on-scene live desk was given an extended break (timeout?), the crew was back for more. Host Rich Eisen asked Mayock if he had any problem with pro-wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino making a pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“It was never a dream of mine,” Mayock dourly replied.