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The Ending Of Draft Day Explained

To paraphrase "Riverdale" hero-at-large Archie Andrews during his inspirational prison stint in Season 3, nothing beats the triumphs and defeats, the epic highs and lows, of football. Maybe that's why good football – and other sports - movies are always a surefire way to take viewers on a ride on the proverbial emotional rollercoaster, especially when they revolve around underdogs overcoming the odds in the pursuit of glory. Throw in a post-rock score and some touchdown passes in slow-mo, and you have a recipe for success.

However, not every emotional football movie is about what happens on the field. "Draft Day," starring Kevin Costner, elicits similar thrills by showing what goes down behind the scenes in the lead-up to one of the most hectic days of the year. In the film, Costner plays Sonny Weaver, Jr, the under-pressure general manager of the Cleveland Browns who must make a huge splash on the day of the draft to appease the team's owners, coaches, and fans.

"Draft Day" chronicles the backstage politics of working for an NFL franchise, but it all comes together in a neat conclusion that allows viewers – just like Sonny – to breathe a huge sigh of relief. Of course, there are also some valid reasons for questioning the general manager's decisions throughout the film, but we shouldn't let those get in the way of the heartwarming messages.

The ending of Draft Day confirms that Sonny is the right man for the job

Sometimes life is all about throwing caution to the wind and hoping for a result, but "Draft Day" takes this idea to the next level. In the movie, Sonny gives away three first-rounders to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for their first pick. After that, he trades three second-rounders for the Jacksonville Jaguars' sixth overall pick. In the end, he gets his original picks back by trading the sixth pick to the Seahawks for the first-rounders he traded originally, along with a punt returner named David Putney. It goes without saying that this type of maneuvering is rare in the real NFL.

That said, Sonny's actions throughout the film define his pragmatism and problem-solving abilities. Despite being under pressure from a variety of people, he knows what's best for the franchise and he has no problem being a renegade. While his last-minute actions could have ruined his career if circumstances weren't on his side at the time, the closing moments of "Draft Day" reaffirm that he's overcome his obstacles and proven that he's capable of being the guy who makes the decisions that benefit everyone in the long run. 

Sonny finally lives up to his lofty family legacy

Being the GM of a fussy football team is stressful enough, but it's even tougher when you're being compared to those who came before. It's well-established throughout "Draft Day" that Sonny's father is a Cleveland Browns legend, and he is forever chasing his dad's shadow. The entire movie is about one man trying to live up to high expectations, and that includes familial ones. This is also true when it comes to his own role as a parent. Sonny's relationship with Ali (Jennifer Garner) is shrouded in uncertainty and standoffishness until she reveals that she's pregnant. After he conquers the draft and shows that he can make an impact like his old man before him, he realizes that he's more than ready to do the same outside of football.

This element of "Draft Day" is consistent with the overarching theme of rising to the occasion and living up to one's potential. By the time the end credits roll, Sonny is a much more complete and fulfilled human being than he was at the beginning. It's unknown if he went on to become as legendary as his dad, but it's clear that he's on the right track. All it took was a high-stakes football draft to help him become the man he was destined to be.