Since this is NFL Draft weekend, I thought it would be fun to highlight the greatest moment in draft television history, in 1994 when Indianapolis Colts General Manager Bill Tobin went off on Mel Kiper, Jr., after Kiper criticized the Colts for trading up to select Trev Alberts with the 5th pick in the draft.
Kiper’s point was that the Colts were run by idiots, which was true. This is funny stuff and was great live television. In fact, I was watching this live. But Kiper was right. Trev Alberts was terrible. The Colts traded all the way up to 5th for a linebacker who was out of the league by 1996 after recording all of four sacks.
The trick about Kiper is the same with a lot of the new media around sports–the realization that the people actually running professional sports franchises often have absolutely no idea what they are doing and that an outsider who takes it seriously may in fact be more knowledgeable. Could be less knowledgeable too, but given that we have franchises out there such as the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions and New York Jets, why would we really think that we couldn’t do just as well? It was the same in baseball with the rise of analytics and the utter outrage of the old scouting community and then the realization that the nerds actually knew a lot of things much better than the scouts and that if we wanted to win maybe we should change.