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Who in the hell is Mel Kiper?
It’s been 25 years since former Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Tobin uttered the famous phrase during a live-TV feud with NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
Their back-and-forth became one of the most memorable and bizarre moments in draft history.
We know now that Kiper is a one of the premier draft analysts on television, a lover of pumpkin pie, hair products and all things Baltimore.
In 1994, Kiper was an unknown draft analyst, and Indy’s GM did not seem fond of his predictions.
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The drama centered around what the Colts should do with their two first round picks. The Colts owned the No. 2 overall pick and acquired the No. 7 overall pick after trading starting quarterback Jeff George to the Atlanta Falcons.
With George out of the picture and only Jim Harbaugh left on the roster, Kiper believed the Colts should draft a quarterback, either Heath Shuler or Trent Dilfer.
Tobin had other plans. He selected future Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk with the team’s first first-round pick. Kiper offered light criticism of the selection, saying the Colts needed to address their hole at quarterback.
Three picks later, with Shuler off the board, Indianapolis traded up to the No. 5 pick. Everyone thought Indy was targeting Dilfer. Instead the Colts selected Nebraska linebacker Trev Alberts with the pick, eliciting a furious response from Kiper.
“I think it was a typical Colts move,” Kiper said to host Chris Berman. “The Colts needed a quarterback. To pass up a Trent Dilfer when all you have is Jim Harbaugh — give me a break. That’s why the Colts are picking second every year in the draft and not battling for the Super Bowl like other clubs in the National Football League.”
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When ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen asked Tobin for his response to criticism during a post-draft interview, the Colts GM came ready to fire back.
“Who in the hell is Mel Kiper anyway?” asks Tobin. “Here’s a guy that criticizes everybody, whoever they take. He’s got the answers to who you should take and who you shouldn’t take. And my knowledge of him: he’s never ever put on a jock strap, he’s never been a coach, he’s never been a scout, he’s been an administrator and all of a sudden he’s an expert.”
The whole time Tobin is ranting, Kiper is off screen, listening to Tobin insult him.
“We don’t have to take anyone Mel Kiper says we have to take,” Tobin continues. “Mel Kiper has no more credentials to do what he’s doing than my neighbor, and my neighbor’s a postman, and he doesn’t even have season tickets to the NFL.”
Tobin seemed genuinely upset by Kiper’s criticism, but the ESPN executives loved the attention the rant brought to the draft.
To his credit, Tobin’s selection of Faulk was a productive one. Faulk played five seasons in the Indy before being traded to the St. Louis Rams for picks that became linebacker Mike Peterson and defensive end Brad Scioli.
Passing on Dilfer for Alberts was not a smart decision. Alberts notched just one sack in three years with Indy before retiring due to injury.
Dilfer went one pick later to the Tampa Buccaneers. He had an up-and-down career with the before winning a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2000.
Tobin was fired by the Colts in 1997 after a 3-13 season.
Kiper is in his 35th season with ESPN.