Getting tickets to Day 1 of the NFL Draft was going to be the most difficult and exciting part of this trip, until of course I actually got the tickets then getting in and cheering on our Cleveland Browns would be. My NFL Draft Day Trip would be great no matter what but adding getting tickets for Thursday Night would be a huge cap stone for me. I left Sandusky at 6AM arrived in the NYC area around 1:30PM. Found parking and walked 40 blocks to Radio City Music Hall, yep parked at 90th street and walked all the way down.
As I got there, around 3PM, one of the first people I saw had a Josh Cribbs jersey on, one that he creatively modified:
So I said hi and followed them as they led the way. During our short walk I found out they had come the year prior as well, but a few hours later, around 5PM. They were very positive that we were early enough to get tickets. Then we started to see the line. 3 Very short videos to give you some perspective:
So as you can see a very difficult situation for us. The group I connected with informed me that the year prior they had been at a very similar area and were the first group (gate) to not get tickets. The guard working our gate warned us when we got in that we were 50/50 chance of getting tickets. Not a great sign.
The NFL had noted they would start handing out wristbands at 7PM, this being 3 when I arrived I planned for a long day. After an hour and a half we saw people leaving from the line area, far in front of us, with lanyards on. Very confused, since it was only 4:30PM. Finally stopped one and they said the NFL was getting your information and giving you a lanyard. Then you had to come back for your wristband. Still unsure if we would get anything we stayed waiting.
Suddenly the group in front of us was moved forward to another gate, then the same thing happened to us. We saw the NFL staff coming towards the group in front of us and our hopes were raised, but knew clearly that either our whole gate would get in or none of us would. So they, like the guys I met did the previous year, could just stop after the group in front of us.
Then it happened. We got our lanyards. They gathered all of our information and gave us a lanyard. It was now around 5:30 so we were told to move up a gate and wait to get our wristbands. Needless to say we were all excited. We expected that we would get our wristbands quickly. Sadly it was not to be. Free Pepsi was given out. Ruffles threw bags and bags of free Buffalo Wing chips our way. Yet no wristbands.
Another NFL group then came to our gate around 7PM and we thought the process would end. Nope. He then checked our IDs and scanned our lanyards. If everything matched up he stamped our hands with a Draft stamp, one that smeared right away (some people got it on their head, a little slap happy at that point, and no I was not one of them). Another wait.
We moved up a gate at a time until we finally came close to Radio City Music Hall. Where we found Roger Goodell hanging out (Not the greatest picture):
And then Michael Irvin:
And then we finally entered the Lobby of RCMH to get our purple wrist bands. A very anti-climatic experience to say the least, but rewarding:
The whole thing got done around 9PM. So the day that started in Sandusky, Ohio at 6AM, on 4 hours of sleep, ended with a purple wristband and a ticket to Day 1 of the NFL Draft. I found my way to my friends house. Tried to check in to the Twitter world then passed out for the night.