I hate Notre Dame. Got no use for the Fighting Irish whatsoever. Overhyped, overexposed and usually overrated. But I’ll tell you this: I wouldn’t wish the private hell that Brady Quinn went through Saturday on a public stage on my worst enemy.
Four laborious hours of torture that would have made Jack Bauer cry, all under the white hot glare of a national audience just waiting to watch him break.
Go back to Saturday afternoon withme. Close your eyes and imagine … that it was you …
Sitting in the green room with the rightful expectation of being a top-five selection in the NFL Draft, knowing every mock draft in the football-loving world told you so.
Knowing there was a fleeting chance you could be the No. 1 overall pick after 11th hour reports of Lance Kiffin’s preference for you over fellow quarterback JaMarcus Russell in Oakland.
Feeling like a kid in a candy store over the prospect of playing for your boyhood idols, the Cleveland Browns, at No. 3 overall.
Knowing that the very worst-case scenario has you heading to Miami at No. 9 overall. A fall from the top-five, sure, but still in the first 10 picks, just like Matt Leinart last year before starring in the Arizona desert.
Then watching Russell go at No. 1, despite a deep personal belief that you are the most NFL-ready quarterback in the draft.
Waiting in restless anticipation for your phone to ring after Calvin Johnson goes second to the Detroit Lions. Double checking to see if you accidentally put it on vibrate when you don’t hear the Browns’ call before Commissioner Roger Goodell approaches the podium.
Tensing up before hearing the name … of a tackle. Not a franchise quarterback. A tackle.
Wondering how they could do that to you.
Realizing the next team with a need at quarterback wasn’t coming up until the Minnesota Vikings at No. 7. Being patient. Waiting.
Still waiting for that cell phone to ring as the Vikings’ clock ticks away, with fellow green-roomer Adrian Peterson sitting nearby. Knowing Goodell would likely be rescuing one of you.
Starting to sweat a bit as Goodell announces the name of … Peterson.
Quietly accepting that you’re headed to Miami two picks later. Not so bad. Still in the top 10. Great weather, storied franchise, town looking for its first star QB since Dan Marino.
Preparing for the announcement … readying that GQ smile for the commissioner to call the name … Ted Ginn Jr.
Knowing that the cameras were not on Ted Ginn Jr., but on you. Turning that would-be smile into wide-eyed, open-jawed surprise, while not alerting the millions of people watching that felt like you were just hit in the gut by an anvil. Trying to stay cool. Keeping your poise. Holding it together. Wanting to scream.
Feverishly remembering the draft order in your mind, not thinking you’d ever have to know the teams in the bottom half of the round. Trying to figure out which teams needed quarterbacks after Miami and realizing that it would be at least another two hours of this hell before another would come.
Trying to figure out why your hometown team had passed on you.
Wondering what you did wrong.
Pondering how those Dolphins could reach for a freaking special teams player instead of you.
But staying stoic for the cameras. Allowing the surprise to mask the hurt; the shock to hide the pain.
Agreeing to another round of insufferable questioning from ESPN’s Suzy Kolber. Wondering how she found so many ways to ask the same dumb question. “How do you feel right now? What are your thoughts? What are you thinking? What’s your game plan?”
My game plan? Is she serious? Game plan? To sit here and wait, you idiot!
Calm. Easy. Can’t break.
Finally, after another hour of agony, with millions of dollars lost with every name announced … hearing your phone. The Browns are going to rescue you. They do want you after all. Wanting to tell them to go to hell for skipping you at No. 3. But keeping it together.
Being strong and confident, yet humble and gracious as you walk across the stage to a standing ovationof pity from the New York crowd. Holding the jersey with the commissioner and saying all the right things despite all the wrong feelings.
Knowing you’ll show them all.
I hate Notre Dame, but I became a Brady Quinn fan on Saturday. And I hope he shows them all.
Sports personality Bob Frantz is a regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.