In the Paul Thomas Anderson period drama “There Will Be Blood,” Daniel Plainview (played by Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis) delivers the iconic line, “I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed.” You get the feeling Plainview would have fit right in in the NFL, where teams compete over everything from free agents and incoming rookies (this weekend is dedicated to that pursuit) to uniform reveals. Apparently, that one-upmanship even extends to home décor.
Like you and everyone you know, NFL coaches and GMs are stuck at home, couch-bound and snacking as our national quarantine drags into its second month. That means teams will be drafting from home this year, a noticeable departure from some of the more decadent drafts we’ve seen in years past. With league execs now at the mercy of their home internet connections, you’d think the 32 NFL GMs would be at a similar disadvantage. But if Twitter has taught us anything these past few days leading up to the draft, it’s that not all home war rooms are created equal. The makeshift draft hubs we’ve seen run the gamut from minimalist to palatial in scope. I think you know where I’m going with this. Let’s start the tour.
We begin with none other than Mr. Tommy Bahama himself, Chiefs coach and reigning Super Bowl champ Andy Reid. The barbecue-loving bench boss has stripped his work station down to the bare essentials, which apparently includes our new American currency Purell, a pack of gum (Bubble Yum enthusiast Pete Carroll probably has a whole guest house for his gum supply) and a garden variety swivel chair straight off the Staples rack. While his home headquarters may lack for bells and whistles, it’s good to know Reid respects wood. Anyone who doesn’t use coasters is a monster.
Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell, who has his work cut out for him with two first-round picks Thursday night, certainly won’t be slumming it in his home theater-turned draft dojo. Caldwell’s place of business is equipped with three Microsoft tablets, infinite leather recliners, screens for days, a theater-quality projection screen and what appears to be a fully-stocked bar complete with tumbler glasses and a state-of-the-art wine cooler. And don’t think I didn’t notice the Jaguar-spotted carpet. With Yannick Ngakoue and Leonard Fournette both on the trade block, Caldwell will probably be spending quite a bit of time in this room over the next few days and honestly, there are worse places to be holed up in for an extended period. Just ask Giants GM Dave Gettleman, whose office space is pretty meat and potatoes compared to the elaborate stylings of Caldwell.
We know Gettleman isn’t the most tech-savvy GM, but this setup is tragic. For one, he’s killing the environment with all that paper (get Guinness on the phone ASAP … I just located the world’s largest binder). And secondly, is that it? A cluttered desk and a solitary laptop? Somebody get this man a monitor and while you’re at it, how about a coaster for that coffee mug (not on the wood-respecting bandwagon, are you Dave?). Is anyone else dying to know what’s written on the Post-it note? It has to be his password, right? If so, my money’s on HogMolly1 or DannyDimes8 (case sensitive, of course).
Gettleman’s barebones home office is a La Quinta Inn compared to Ryan Pace’s Ritz Carlton setup in Chi-Town. The Bears GM has all the laptops and monitors he could ever need and, should an impromptu dance party break out, a disco ball for getting jiggy with it. I’m not usually a proponent of houseplants (or watering them), but to each their own I suppose. Pace is going to be heartbroken when he finds out he spent all this money on a home war room when the Bears don’t even have a Day 1 pick.
The Chargers don’t have a starting quarterback (unless you count veteran placeholder Tyrod Taylor), but what they do have is one of the most elaborate draft headquarters you’ll ever lay eyes on. As if waking up to pristine weather in beautiful palm-tree clad Los Angeles every day wasn’t paradise enough for Tom Telesco, the Bolts GM’s home is a masterpiece, complete with a king-sized desk, light emanating from his two living-room chandeliers, a moose mannequin wearing arguably the greatest jersey in sports (L.A.’s powder-blue threads are iconic) and plenty of bandwidth on his five laptops. Should the mood strike, Telesco also has a ping-pong table at his disposal. This ladies and gentleman, is high-living. Call it the Taj Mahal of draft war rooms.
Newly-minted Redskins coach Ron Rivera has a comparatively modest setup (you’ll notice a conspicuous lack of disco balls), but at least Riverboat Ron’s family is keeping him well-nourished with around-the-clock flapjacks. Rivera will also have his pet pooches on standby for belly rubs and emergency fetch sessions if he needs a pick-me-up at any point during the three-day draft slog.
It’s going to be a tough night in the trenches—the rumor mill is already swirling at warp speed—but at least when coaches and GMs botch their picks, an inevitability given this year’s unique circumstances, they’ll be doing it from the comfort of their own homes.