2013 NFL Draft Preview: From Fan to Reporter

by Mack Rosenberg
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Mack Rosenberg, WFUV Sports

The experience changes when when you go from in front of the mic to behind it

WFUV Sports will provide live coverage from historic Radio City Music Hall for the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft featuring draftee interviews, live updates from Jets and Giants camp, analysis from local and national writers across the country and pick by pick analysis.  Each day this week, we will provide an in depth look at the draft, from the fan experience to local draft previews. Check in each day for a new prespective, and be sure to tune in live to One on One's NFL Friday: NFL Draft Edition on Thursday, April 25, 2013.  Today, Mack Rosenberg gives his insight after attending the past four NFL Drafts.

I’ve been to the last four NFL Drafts in New York City, and the fan experience at Radio City Music Hall is quite amazing. Having been on both sides (I attended as a fan from 2009-2011 and worked as a field reporter for WFUV last year), there are some interesting parallels that can be drawn.

First and foremost, the draft is a free event open to the public. This is an element of the experience that should not be overlooked. Fans who decide to attend the draft must wait on line outside Radio City Music Hall the night before the event for a few hours to receive a wristband which allows entry into the draft the next day. The night before can be, on some levels, an even more enjoyable experience than the draft itself. Fans get to walk down the line only to hear hundreds of other fans who have already lined up booing them for whatever jersey they are wearing. It happened to me and my other friends every year, and it’s always something we remember. Usually once we get to the back, we’ll order food to be delivered to the line and socialize with the various other fans we meet.

Draft day usually starts around 10 or 11 in the morning when my friends and I hop on the train to NYC and grab a scrumptious pre-draft meal at Dallas BBQ in Times Square. Keep in mind, this step in the experience is not required.

We usually get to Radio City around two in the afternoon to prepare for the mad scramble that is getting into the building. There is nothing quite like it, because the security officers at Radio City don’t tell anyone where to line up. Still, tons of fans line up anyway, some on the other side of the street because they believe that’s where the line will start. The security guards usually have the last laugh, because it turns out the line for the draft starts in the same place every year: the front of the building (secret’s out).

Another special part of draft day is the fact that it is really easy to get on TV and be interviewed. I had the pleasure of being interviewed by NFL Network’s Dhani Jones in 2010, and being shown on ESPN when my St. Louis Rams drafted Sam Bradford with the top pick. Granted, this probably had something to do with the fact that there about six St. Louis Rams fans in the United States, and half of them attend the draft. Still, all you have to be is a fan.

Reporting from the crowd for WFUV last year was a unique feeling as well. There were parts of it that were similar to the fan experience, but what stood out to me were the interviews I got to do with the fans and even some of the players. Interviewing the fans was great because I know exactly what their experiencing and as spectators, they added some emotion to the broadcast. I also had the privilege of interviewing some draft experts like John Clayton of ESPN and Peter King of Sports Illustrated.

The NFL draft, whether you’re a fan or a member of the media, is a most enjoyable experience with many different things to look forward to. It is a must-attend for any NFL fan.

Mack Rosenberg covers the MLB (Yankees), the NFL (NFL Friday Host) and Fordham sports for WFUV.

WFUV Sports 2013 NFL Draft Coverage:
Today: Mack Rosenberg shares the NFL Draft Experience as a reporter and a fan.
Tomorrow: Mike Watts studies the effect conferences have on draft stock, and how players fare when they start playing.
Wendesday: Nick Logerfo previews a collegiate player in the upcoming draft.
Thursday: Kenny Ducey explores the draft needs of the Giants and Jets.
Thursday Night: Draft night. Listen live here.