CLEVELND — The NFL Draft dates back 85 years — all the way back to 1936. But in just the past three years, the draft blew up into a massive event when it was first broadcast in primetime on network TV. Drama, action, suspense – all elements of the NFL Draft – and a good film script.
“There is a ticking clock, which is the essence of good drama. This team is on the clock, that team is on the clock,” said Rajiv Joseph, who knows all too well the plot twists of the draft. He writes for television, theater, and film, including the 2014 movie “Draft Day,” about football, the Browns, and Cleveland.
The stage is set, but this year’s story remains unwritten.
“I know the city, I know the people, that’s when it really became a joy to me,” Joseph said.
The Cleveland Heights High graduate grew up a die-hard Browns fan in the Bernie Kosar era.
“The boy young Rajiv couldn’t believe his eyes,” he said. He now had an all-access pass to shoot a movie about the downtrodden Browns reversing their fortunes through bold moves in the draft.
“The draft is this singular day in which hopes and dreams come true for all these young men who have dedicated their lives to this sport,” Joseph said.
Not only can draft day transform the life of a young man and his family, but it's intentionally stacked to give underdog teams, cities, and fans a fighting chance.
“When you look at what the team has meant to the city through the dark years of the last two decades, they keep on coming to the stadium because they love the orange and brown,” Joseph said.
After years of losing records and high picks, the draft was like the Browns’ Super Bowl —until last season.
“When you have a season like last season, you really see the city come together in a special way,” Joseph said.
With the draft in town and high expectations for the team, the ending for our script isn’t written yet.
“I don’t think [the Draft is] our Super Bowl,” Joseph said. “Our Super Bowl is the upcoming season.”
Sounds like a perfect Hollywood ending.