I'll start with a acknowledgement: I had no plans to write about the 2017 NFL Draft red carpet show until I found out Carl Weathers was prominently involved.
Like pretty much every other American male born between 1968 and 1984, I'm a huge fan of the Rocky franchise. That said, even I must admit it took few beats before connecting the dots when I first heard the news. For the uninitiated: Weathers portrayed Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky movies. Sylvester Stallone's titular Rocky Balboa was born and bred in Philly. Creed actually hailed from Los Angeles, but let's not overthink this. Weathers also had a cup of coffee as a player with the Oakland Raiders in the early '70s, so, yeah, it makes enough sense.
Anyway, we're excited that Carl Weathers is on NFL Network today in the same way you guys are excited for the actual draft. Here's the End Around's running diary of the 90-minute red carpet show on NFL Network.
3:03: Carl Weathers heads down the steps to "Living in America" by James Brown. Rocky fans are quick to point out this is the song that played as Apollo Creed entered the ring for his fight against Ivan Drago. Creed was straight-up murdered in the ring minutes later. Let's hope there's no connective tissue here.
6:07: I don't think I've ever seen anyone more excited about an assignment than Nate Burleson on the red carpet at the NFL Draft.
6:13: Melissa Stark just accidentally referred to Weathers as Apollo Creed before correcting herself. I'm sure he never gets tired of that.
6:20: Chidobe Awuzie is wearing all black. Why? "We gonna kill it, it's a murder scene out here." This was probably the same thing Ivan Drago said before his fight with Carl Weathers.
6:23: We just got a slow-motion instant replay of Derek Barnett falling backwards into a pit of blue balls. There were also red balls.
6:28: Man, Wikipedia tells me that Carl Weathers is 69 years old. I'm more than 30 years his junior and he looks younger than me. Gonna find somewhere to die.
6:33: Stark just referred to Carl Weathers as "my good friend" as she threw to commercial. I wonder if that's true.
Again, Carl Weathers is Carl Weathers. Not Apollo Creed. Shouldn't this be #CarlClean?
6:38: Burleson said Marshon Lattimore has "grown man swag." I want that.
6:46: Stark just referred to Kay Adams as "my good friend." I wonder if that's true.
6:50: A favorite Carl Weathers performance came a decade ago in the cult classic comedy series Arrested Development. Weathers played himself as a ludicrously cheap Hollywood star who scams one of the central characters and can't stop talking about stew, a delicious and economic entree for the ages.
"Hey Dad ... you sure about the hat? I know you love it, but just ... you know ... think it through. There are ramifications to your actions here."
6:56: Stark just asked Weathers if he planned to jump in the ball pit. "Not I, said the duck." This man is a treasure who should be kept behind Plexiglass.
7:04: Happy to see DeShone Kizer in lavender. Most guys have been dressed like they're going to a funeral. Everyone looks like extras from "Tha Crossroads" video shoot.
7:14: Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney look like a principal and vice principal on hand just to make sure the kids don't get too rowdy.
7:17: LSU safety Jamal Adams won this damn thing:
7:30: That's it. Great job, kids. Carl Weathers should do this every year. Did I mention I love Carl Weathers?