Vintage Kung Fu Movies Can Teach You Everything about the NFL Draft

By Timothy Ellingstad


Each year there appears to be more excitement about the NFL draft. Mock drafts start the day after the real draft ends. The same draft evaluator/prognosticator/pundit/analyst/prophet will publish multiple versions of his or her own draft predictions. Inexplicably these change all the time.

There is talk of college players “rising” or “falling” at different points, and not just based on combine or pro-day performances. This or that player seems to “get hot” and shows up earlier on various mock draft boards than in previous mock draft boards. This all gives the impression of movement, of things improving or getting worse for different players, though in reality nothing is actually changing or moving at all.

This is exactly like when the loudmouthed bad guy from the beginning of an old kung fu movie (not the main bad guy, but one of the main minions) busts up a café, threatening people, and talking about how his master’s kung fu is strong, and the new quiet guy’s kung fu is weak. We know that eventually we will learn how things shake out, but till then it’s a lot of pounding on tables and heavy gesturing.

Perhaps this is similar to different analysts discussing their predictions about upcoming games. They will bicker and argue about offensive and defensive schemes. They will talk about who has more heart, the home crowd, and “who wants it more.” Often when they disagree one inevitably says, “I guess that’s why they play the game, right?”

Good point.

Once the game starts, none of the prior talk matters. Once the game is over, no one cares about the predictions. Even the correct ones. The same is true of the draft – though we have a much longer period of time to listen to the commentary as opposed to a Sunday afternoon game.

Nonetheless, I like it when commentators agree that my team will win, even though they don’t change anything. Likewise, I also like reading the mock drafts. I tend to have a pretty unhealthy relationship with football, and even though nothing is actually occurring by way of these predictions, I find myself feeling pleased or frustrated by what this or that person has guessed. I know it does not make any logical sense, which actually makes it worse.

With this in mind, I have compiled a list of key lessons gleaned from my youth of watching vintage kung fu movies, which I believe, translate perfectly to dealing with the road to the upcoming NFL draft:

1. That old looking guy with the crazy eyes, white hair, and metal claw hands is a bad dude, even though he is dressed in white.

2. That huge out of shape looking guy wearing an open, animal fur vest and no shirt has an anger problem. He will likely come over and eat your food with his hands.

3. If you practice doing finger push-ups by putting eggs under your palms, you’ll have to eat a lot of scrambled eggs. But you’ll learn how to do finger push-ups.

And most importantly…

4. Watching enough kung fu on TV may give the impression that you know kung fu. Watching kung fu on TV, however, does not translate well to real life. Best to leave that metal claw hand guy to the quiet fellow who just came down from the mountain after doing a lot of push-ups and eating a lot of eggs. He looks like he takes care of claw hands for a living.

Eh, on second thought, I’m just going to do what I do every year: chew my fingertips until something happens with the Packers, read up on whoever was picked, convince myself that every pick is the second coming of Paul Coffman (it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I’ve always had a thing for Paul Coffman), and then two years later either feel personally validated or personally slighted by the outcome.

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