Thankfully, mercifully, all NFL mock drafts will end by 8 p.m. ET Thursday. There's good reason: The real NFL draft must begin.
Yes, it's come to that point of the year, that time-honored rite of spring, when Americans by the millions turn to their TVs to watch — well, what exactly?
To watch people sitting at desks making phone calls. To watch college football players' names be called by Commissioner Roger Goodell. To watch the players emerge from behind curtains and pull on NFL jerseys and hats and face the cameras as the newest members of the most popular league in the nation.
And U.S. sports fans will eat this up. They always do. Last year, 7.7 million people watched the first night of the draft. Among the coveted 18-49-year-old demographic, ESPN's coverage that night beat everything that was against it, on cable and broadcast TV, except for The Big Bang Theory.
Those of us who marvel at such a statistic clearly are missing the significance of the cultural activity in question. What's more all-American than sitting in front of the TV watching college football stars in suits find out where they'll play next, with their moms and girlfriends nearby?
Apparently almost nothing.
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Leave it to the NFL to figure out what Americans want – and give it to us. Our love of everything related to football knows no bounds. I wouldn't be surprised if viewership for the draft easily beats the NBA playoffs on Thursday night. Real live sports don't stand a chance against a desk full of announcers discussing the NFL.
What does that say about us? It says we can't live without football, which explains why the NFL is slowly but surely taking over the sports calendar – nearly all 12 months of it.
The official reason the 2014 draft ended up in May this year was that Radio City Music Hall was busy with an Easter show during the draft's regular window in April. But now that it has found its way to May, you can bet it's not going back to April.And why should it?
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This is not 1936, when the first NFL draft was held in February and teams chose from 90 names written on a blackboard. What league doesn't want to turn its offseason into a showcase for itself? Major League Baseball announces its MVP and Cy Young awards in November, at the height of football season. The NFL now returns the favor, over and over again.
The Super Bowl is ensconced in February, followed not long after by the beginning of free agency. Then comes a springtime filled with organized team activities, rookie and veteran minicamps and the draft, with training camp and the preseason not far behind.
And what of the hole in April where the draft used to be? This year, that became the day the NFL released its 2014 schedule, to great fanfare.
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Then there are the actual NFL games. From early September until early February, every weekend but one belongs to the NFL. In addition to Sunday and Monday games, there now are prime-time Thursday games, no longer just on the NFL Network, but also on CBS.
We have identified a few weeks in June that are NFL-free — for now.
Those who think this creeping NFL-ism is just too much have a patron saint in Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA, who has a front-row seat on too much with his own league, which starts play in October and ends in June.
"They're trying to take over every night of TV," Cuban said recently of the NFL. "And initially, it'll be the biggest rating thing there is. Then, if they get Saturday, now they're impacting college. And then if they go to Wednesday, at some point, people get sick of it."
I'm not sure when that point will be, but I think a good guess is sometime well into the 21st century. It's certainly not now. While this fascination with the draft might confound many of us, the reality is it's so popular the NFL is thinking of taking its show on the road, with various cities expressing interest, including Chicago, Los Angeles and even Canton, Ohio, site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It all sounds like too much. But for the NFL it's never enough.
Follow columnist Christine Brennan on Twitter at @cbrennansports.