The 2014 NFL draft kicks off at 8 p.m. Eastern tonight, and the league continues its effort to transform what was once a dull transactional event—watched mostly by football insiders and diehards—into a sprawling entertainment spectacle. To that end, Modern Family star Ty Burrell will represent the St. Louis Rams at tonight’s festivities.
That may seem odd, given that the draft is an event where football teams pick new football players, and Burrell is neither a football team nor a football player—although his Modern Family character, Phil Dunphy, does have valuable cheerleading experience. Not to worry: The league will accommodate Burrell’s draft-day vestigiality by inventing a role for the avid Rams fan. As Hollywood Reporter reporter Debbie Emery’s report reports, “Burrell’s main duties will be to hand the Rams jersey to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell when the team makes the 13th pick.” That’s mildly humiliating for a TV star of Burrell’s caliber, but it would be a step up for Phil Dunphy, who never got invited to the football players’ parties when he was in college. Now Phil gets to attend the party, albeit only to handle the laundry. Progress?