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Free-For-All Friday: NFL Draft, The Last Dance and Chicago Bulls Fandom

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Quarantine life has made the NFL Draft and The Last Dance all the sweeter.

NFL Combine - Day 3
Tristan Wirfs has secured the bag.

It’s Friday and we’ve got real live sports news to talk about. Plus, The Last Dance dropped last weekend and we’re looking forward to re-shaping our childhood memories as we dive deeper into the saga that was the Chicago Bulls of the 90s.

It’s a free-for-all and you better believer we’re all over the map.

JP: Jerry! My man. My main man. My man making sure there’s food for me to buy in the store. Are you surviving over there buddy? You sleepin? What. Is. Up?

Jerry: JP. JPinIC. JPinIC managing that cheddar. Cheddar Bob. Bob the Builder. Dream builders.

My brain is mush. I’ve been up since 0400 ET with the worst allergies of all time talking to the most wonderful people in this country: farmers and truck drivers. So no, I’m not sleeping, but I’m essential and in this time, that’s all I could really ask for. On top of that, the Chicago Bears actually get to make a pick today (and AJE might be on the board for them to add to their elite D), Tristan Wirfs gets to pancake block for Tom FREAKING Brady, and we get Dennis Rodman on The Last Dance Sunday night. Is this the best 72-96 hours of #QuarantineLyfe?

JP: You took the question right out of my mouth. Was about to ask you how you felt about the Bears’ draft so far. It’s on par with my Rams’ draft. Super exciting. Fun times.

But really, this has to be it for quarantine sports life. We were so hyped for the release of those first two episodes of The Last Dance last weekend and I’m sure we’re both tainted by being guys who grew up Bulls fans on the back end of that incredible run (OK, so we were around for the whole thing, but Jordan was a Bull before either of us was born and I was only 6 when they won their first title), but it delivered in my opinion. I’ve listened to the SpoCo Radio instant reaction so I know you were a bit underwhelmed, but man, in a world with no sports it was must watch TV and it’s the most I’ve enjoyed something on the tube in a while.

Now you’re adding in some real, live sports news with developing stories and analysis that isn’t strictly about whether we get a season this year and I don’t know if I can handle it. Especially now that the Rams are actually going to be making picks. Sure, it would have been nice to have one or four in the first round, what with the team bleeding talent (love you TG3, miss you Brandin Cooks), but the draft is a lot more fun when you’re team is making moves.

That’s exactly what the Tompa bay Gronkaneers have been doing and I’m super jelly. Tristan Wirfs had to have a pit in his stomach last night when he started his mini-fall. He was a top 2 tackle in this class and to have the Giants, who reportedly had zeroed in on him, take someone not in those top 2 with the 4th overall pick had to be a gut punch. But in the end, this is going to work out really, really well. SpoTrac estimates his contract to come in around $16-17M with $9m guaranteed and he’s going to be on an offense with a TON of weapons, blocking for the second best QB of all time. It’s a tremendous spot for him to be in. Oh, and he gets to live in a prime vacation destination without miserable winters. Not. Too. Shabby.

Do you see Da Bears making some noise the rest of the weekend? They going to be the ones to finally take A.J. Epenesa? What’s your gut say here?

Jerry: First of all, JP, Wirfs will be blocking for THE greatest QB of all time with a Top-5 tight end (and 24/7 Champion thank you very much) with elite blocking capabilities right next to him a lot of the time. Throw in a guy like Jonthan Taylor in the 2nd Round tonight, and all of a sudden we’re talking about another Super Bowl Hawkeye. I’m pumped for him. And while it probably SUCKEDDDDDDD in the moment watching yourself slip (especially with all of that New York Giants smoke), things couldn’t have shaped out any better for the first ever starting freshman in the Kirk Ferentz Era.

Also, just a quite note that I saw on Twitter that could be 100% true or 100% false but I’m way to lazy to look, this is apparently tied for the highest draft pick ever added to a Tom Brady led team. Isn’t that crazy? I know he’s coming from a system that plays NFL Draft chess with everyone’s checkers pieces, but damn.

As far as The Last Dance, it was good. I enjoyed watching it. I enjoyed watching it so much I watched it all again the other day while working. I think after a few days to digest it even more, it was more of a me problem. First off, I had Tiger King meets Ric Flair meets Andre the Giant meets Allen Iverson 30 for 30 aspirations. Did anyone tell me that this doc was going to be a mixture of Tiger King meets Ric Flair meets Andre the Giant meets Allen Iverson? No they did not. But that’s where my head goes when I’m forced to blankly stare at Housewives yelling over spilled Rose. Secondly, I think I’m battling that 6-year old kid in me. I think the 4th member of SpoCo put it best on the recap pod. I always assumed these guys loved each other (especially Michael and Scottie). I always assumed Dennis Rodman was the kooky brother that keeps things interesting. But now I’m coming to the realization that Scottie (who I wore 33 my entire playing career because of and have it tatooed horribly on my body) is kind of an asshole and Jerry Reinsdorf is even more of an idiotic fool than I ever assumed (and I’ve been dealing with his ownership for my favorite baseball and basketball team for years).

I love the Hawkeyes, but the Chicago Bulls will forever be “MY TEAM”. I had Chicago Bulls wallpaper, Chicago Bulls bed sheets, Chicago Bulls posters, Chicago Bulls shirts and hoodies and jerseys and shorts and pants and lockers and figurines. I will forever and always love this team and I care way too much about their image. And for an owner to just be like “peace out” to the GOAT and his hand picked coach because Jerry freaking Krause wants to hire a guy from freaking Ames and blow it up for recognition goes against ALL of preconceived notions about this team and my childhood.

Those are hard things to decipher as a 31 year old.

I’m probably rambling and I don’t know if anything I said makes any sense at all. But it’s how I feel and I look forward to watching Hour 3 and Hour 4 and hopefully having that soothe my pains.

JP: I mean, yeah TB12 is 100% the winningest QB of all time. No doubt. I’ll be interested to see how many titles he wins without BB. Would be really interested to see him have to carry a team without a ton of weapons around him and a stellar defense. Either way, I do hope he can get another one this season with Wirfs protecting him. That kid is a good one and seems like a really good human as well.

Now, I’m with you in wanting to see more of the train wreck footage we got to love from The Tiger King. But I think we could still be on course to get some of that in the episodes coming up. We’re getting more Rodman footage this week and that on its own should be must watch TV. And I also think they needed to spend a good portion of the opening just setting things up. It would be great if we got more of the behind the scenes stuff throughout that, but I do feel like it’s going to be scrubbed a bit through the whole show given 1. Michael signed off on it and 2. I think they probably got shut out of a good portion of things anyway just given what we saw of Phil slamming the door in the camera crew’s face when they were in the crapper without Pippen. I hope not, for our sake, but I find it hard to believe they really got complete access when the stuff was hitting the fan.

I obviously had a little different experience with the Bulls than you did given you were in the Chi at the epicenter and I was in the middle of nowhere in Iowa. But even for me, my early fandom was as much Bulls and Cardinals as it was Hawkeyes. I had the posters and figures as well and some of my most vivid memories as a kid were being able to stay up late with my dad to watch the Finals in our kitchen the same way I still watch all Hawkeye games on a TV ~30” bigger – standing rather than sitting and no more than 3 feet from the TV.

Having the BJ Armstrong/Iowa connection only made the Bulls fandom even better as a kid and I’m hoping we get some glimpses of the first three-peat. If not, I’m putting it out there now – I will hand over all my money to watch a full 20 episodes on the entirety of their run rather than just the last dance.

Jerry: You wont hear a complaint from me on that. I’d pony up a little extra cash myself.

Real quick before we go (and I know this is all over the place), but did you know Nile Kinnick was a baller AND a Heisman winner?

JP: First of all, this thing is nothing if not all over the place always. It’s a free-for-all damnit! But more importantly, there is no photo you could show me of the greatest Hawkeyes to ever live that would surprise me. I have no doubt had he not given his life for this country, he would have been president.