While Roger Goodell and the players are the biggest stars of each year’s NFL draft, Mel Kiper Jr. also plays a major role in the event’s proceedings. Every spring, the ESPN veteran draws up his big board and guides football fans through the game’s top prospects and biggest sleepers. There’s one streak, however, that you won’t find in his notes.
Although every draft brings plenty of streaks and stats, Kiper is keeping his own personal run going. During his 37 years of working the NFL draft, he’s never used the bathroom during the main event.
Mel Kiper Jr. has become synonymous with the NFL draft
With each passing football season, ESPN will trot out a variety of reporters, analysts, and talking heads to cover the NFL. When it comes to the annual draft, however, it’s impossible to imagine the event without Mel Kiper Jr.
As explained in a 2009 New York Times story, Kiper got his start in college when he founded Kiper Enterprises. At the time, the future draft guru spent “hours on the phone with college coaches and NFL general managers and in front of televisions to glean every last tidbit about a defensive lineman’s hip swivel and an offensive tackle’s motor.” From there, the rest is history.
In 1984, Kiper Jr. teamed up with ESPN to serve as their NFL draft expert analyst. He hasn’t left the role since and immerses himself in college football year-round to prepare for the big night. While it’s easy to write him off as nothing more than a talking head who’s famous for being famous—there are plenty of instances of him being wrong—there’s still something to be said for his sheer pop-cultural presence. When spring rolls around, it’s impossible to follow football without encountering Kiper.
A 38-year streak of refusing to use the restroom
During the crucial moment of a big game, no fan wants to leave the couch to head to the bathroom. During the NFL draft, Mel Kiper Jr. takes a play out of a similar playbook.
During an episode of ESPN Daily, Pablo Torre explained that he had heard from Field Yates that Kiper had a “streak of not going to the bathroom when [he’s] working on the NFL draft set.” While talking about bathroom business can be awkward in the best of times, the draft guru confirmed that such a streak does exist.
“As far as going to the bathroom, my streak is intact,” Kiper explained. “In 38 years, now this will be 38 years, I’ve never left for that.”
So how does he do it? Unsurprisingly, the key to avoiding the bathroom is to simply not eat or drink anything.
“Well, I also don’t eat anything during the draft,” Kiper said. “Over the 38 years, this will be 38 years at ESPN, I don’t think you could put on one plate the food I’ve eaten over those 38 years. It’s just a bite here, a sip of ginger ale, Canada Dry ginger ale, a Snickers bar, just to have it there.”
Mel Kiper Jr.’s weird culinary habits aren’t limited to the NFL draft
In isolation, avoiding food, drink, and trips to the bathroom during the NFL draft isn’t that weird. Mel Kiper Jr., after all, has built his entire brand around that event; it’s reasonable for him to get into the zone. Some of his weird habits, however, stretch into the rest of the calendar year.
During their conversation, Torre also asked Kiper about the story that he eats pumpkin pie for breakfast every day. “Every day it’s available, and I can get it,” the draft expert confirmed. “It’s not always available, so I can’t honestly say that every day I eat pumpkin pie, because that’s a lie, it’s not true, because every day I can’t get the pumpkin pie to be here. But I have fat-free whipped cream with pumpkin pie and a glass of skim milk as many times as I possibly can in the morning, like a breakfast, to get me going.”
As documented by ForTheWin, Kiper also has a unique way of eating pizza. He’ll grab a slice, remove the cheese, and then add some mashed potatoes before chowing down.
When it comes to NFL draft insights, Kiper is your go-to guy. If you’re looking for culinary advice, however, you may want to try elsewhere.