The last seconds of the National Football League’s season winds down at the Super Bowl, and a champion will be crowned. For those who root for the soon-to-be champions, they will be taking in the sweet taste of knowing that their team just won the most prized trophy in the world. The euphoric feeling is beyond anything they could dream of or explain. For those whose teams just simply can’t get out of being an absolute bottom-dweller embarrassment of a franchise, they will be in despair. They wonder if that day will ever happen. For most, they deal with the realization they will never get to that moment-that moment they see their team win the championship. Those same fans will just want to go into the fetal position and have a good cry after really diving into that reality.
In the spring after the Super Bowl, the beginning stages of the NFL season give all the teams a fresh start, regardless of the previous years ending standings. The first stage of the season getting underway is the annual yearly draft. The draft is designed to increase the competitive parity between the teams as the worst team would, ideally, have chosen the best player available. Teams select eligible college football players in seven rounds.
Local musician Joe Anderl’s father grew up a Nebraska Cornhusker fan. Growing up in the state, Anderl’s father became an avid Husker fan. However, the life of being in the Air Force forced him to move all around the United States. Older Anderl’s wife gave birth to Joe in California, and it was there that he would instill his passion and dedication of the Cornhuskers to his newborn. Anderl’s loyalty with the University of Nebraska’s football program runs deep. He will go in detail on the glory years that the team had during the 90s under Tom Osborne era. He will explain just how awful the Bill Callahan era was, as he tried to implement the West Coast offense. He will even tell you the story about how he and his father finally had the chance to catch their beloved Huskers in Indianapolis in 2012 for the Big Ten Championship against the Wisconsin Badgers.
In 1984, the NFL draft was especially significant for the Anderl’s. Two highly talented All-American Cornhuskers-wide receiver Irving Fryar,and offensive tackle Dean Steinkuhler-were selected first and second in that year’s draft. It has been the only NFL draft that has had two Nebraska Cornhuskers to be picked first and second. For his obsession with the college football team, and due to some of the greatest players to ever put on the Husker jersey, it propelled Joe Anderl to name his band The 1984 Draft.
Anderl’s chance to showcase his talents won’t be the first for him. His has been around the music scene for some time now. His high school ska band at the time took second place at the Canal Street band playoffs. He played in a hardcore band called Keaton that had the opportunity to record with Chris Common, who has helped produced and engineer albums for indie bands such as Minus The Bear, and Native. Anderl also ran a boutique label Bettawreckonize Media, releasing records from the likes of Southeast Engine, The Kyle Sowashes, and 8 Bit Revival in the mid ‘00s. He has supported the likes of Maritime, The New Amsterdams, The Wrens, Murder By Death, Limbeck and Ink and Dagger, to celebrated songwriters like John Vanderslice, party rocker Andrew WK. It’s pretty hard to not be impressed with Anderl’s resume.
This month, NFL Films will be releasing a documentary on the 30th anniversary of the 1984 NFL draft, and Anderl’s band have been given an amazing gift-they will be showcased in the show. The band was noticed by the folks at NFL mostly in part due to the amount of videos that are on YouTube. The large collection of videos are Anderl and the band performing all around town caught the folks who were putting together the movie. “I thought that it was a joke”, Anderl explains when he was notified about the inquiry of being part of the documentary. “I thought that it was a buddy messing around with me. So, I went to the internet and looked up the person that contacted us. Everything that came up was true on the person.” The person who contact Anderl was Greg Frith, a senior producer at NFL Films.
The NFL Films crew arrived in Dayton back in January, and the experience was pretty surreal for Anderl. “I was headed to Justin’s house when I noticed these black SUV’s following me. When I arrived to the house, the vehicles stopped as well. You could tell these guys had no clue where they were at (laughs). After they spent some time with us, they loosened up.” The documentary is scheduled to be aired April 30th on NFL Network, just in time for this year’s draft. The NFL film crew stayed all day interviewing and filming the band. Footage was even recorded when the band performed a set at Blind Bob’s that evening.
To help celebrate the airing of the film, The 1984 Draft have released a 3-song EP Bo Jackson Up The Middle. The 1984 Draft went to the studio to record Bo Jackson Up The Middle in the middle of January this year at Popside Recording Studio in Troy, Ohio. Anderl, along with drummer Justin Satinover and guitarist Eli Alban, worked with Micah Carli, guitarist for Dayton’s own Hawthorne Heights. The recording session only took a single day to complete. The EP, which features alt-folk sensibilities along with a ‘90s emo and hardcore vibe, is heavily-driven with football themes and imagery. “Clear Heads Full Hearts” gives a bruising bird’s eye view of small town men who played high school football recounting playing under those glorious Friday nights under the brightest of lights, feeling invisible.
Now those same men live normal lives, driving minivans and trying to recapture those missed opportunities through their own children. “Scarlet and Cream” pays homage to a deceased Cornhusker that was special to Anderl, his grandfather. “Straight Out Of Will Compton” completes the blistering EP with Anderl giving everything he has. The EP truly doesn’t do justice on the instrumental play that Satinover and Alban bring.
Currently, Anderl and company are slowly putting together the follow-up to their first LP that was released in late 2013, Return to Tallboy Mountain. The band hopes that the album, which will be called Return to Tallboy Mountain, Again, will be recorded at Popside with Carli again. For now, however, the excitement of the NFL Films documentary and the EP being released is the band’s primary focus.
Hey-it’s not every day that you can be ‘selected’.
To listen to the EP Bo Jackson Up The Middle, you can go to iTunes here. You can also hear the EP on Spotify, eMusic, Rhapsody, and Amazon.
NFL Films presenting the 30th anniversary on the 1984 draft will be aired on April 30th on the NFL Network.