Since the inception of Drive and Dish way back in 2007, it's been a longstanding tradition of this humble blog to publish our handwritten brackets early in the morning of the first day of the NCAA Tournament.
Casual readers may assume that we've always posted our brackets early in the morning of the Tournament's opening day because of our commitment to serving our readers with high quality content in as timely a manner as possible (i.e., we want our readers to be able to see our brackets first thing in the morning, before they head off to work or to school).
But the actual reason that we've always published our brackets in the early morning of the first day of the NCAA Tournament is because our Editor in Chief has always decided to just click the "publish" icon upon stumbling home from the annual Drive and Dish Bracket Release Blowout Bash . . . just to be on the safe side, in case he found himself too hung over to do so later.
This year, after a one year COVID-19 lockdown-mandated hiatus, there was a tremendous amount of pent-up demand for us to resume hosting our annual Drive and Dish Bracket Release Blowout Bash. We received countless inquiries from our readers and fans who wanted to know if the annual Bracket Release Blowout Bash would be reinstated, and if so, how to go about purchasing tickets. For the record, we were planning to have Steve Aoki and Dillon Francis play the reinstituted 2021 Drive and Dish Bracket Release Blowout Bash. Unfortunately, we encountered a significant number of difficulties relating to logistics when we were in the planning stages of reinstituting the Drive and Dish Bracket Release Blowout Bash, and as a result, had to postpone the official announcement of the Bash (and its ticket sales) until we had secured a venue and had worked out the attendant contractual details.
Drive and Dish was founded in Chicagoland, and our Blowout Bashes were always held in Chicago. But Chicago is still in semi-lockdown mode, so it's not really possible to host a giant blowout bash there at the moment. Besides, Chicago has devolved into a mostly deserted, lawless and violent shit-hole over the last couple of years. So it wouldn't be a great idea to host our party there anyway.
We investigated the possibility of renting a private island in the Caribbean for our blowout bash, but several of our financial backers ended up having cold feet over hosting a party on a private Caribbean island. It turns out that Fyre Festival and the Jeffrey Epstein/Epstein Island saga are still casting dark shadows over the Caribbean island rental industry.
So after having exhausted nearly conceivable option for the reinstitution of the Drive and Dish Bracket Release Blowout Bash for 2021, the Drive and Dish Board of Directors ultimately came to the difficult decision to break with tradition and forego the Bracket Release Blowout Bash for the second consecutive year.
But we're not alone in breaking with tradition this year: Many of the nation's most august institutions have been forced to break with tradition in 2021. For example, after having cancelled the 2020 NCAA Tournament due to COVID-19, the NCAA itself has more or less thrown tradition out the window in 2021 by in order to ensure that the '21 Tournament is able to take place at all. Thus, all NCAA Tournament games will be played in the Indianapolis area, and the Tournament officially tips off on a Friday, rather than on Thursday.
What's more, all teams participating in the NCAA Tournament must quarantine in their respective hotels when not practicing or playing in Tournament games, and only a limited number spectators will be allowed to attend Tournament games.
Thus, in the spirit of breaking with tradition, Drive and Dish has elected to forego filling out handwritten brackets in favor of "touch-free" virtual brackets.
Make no mistake, it was a difficult decision for us to make--we at Drive and Dish has built our brand over the years by holding steadfast to our principles, even when it's been unpopular to do so. We've stayed true to what we've believed in even when doing so has caused us to be accused of being defiantly contrarian. The handwritten bracket has been a staple of Drive and Dish since our founding, and we understand that some of our longtime readers may be disappointed by our decision to break with our tradition this year.
The Drive and Dish Board of Directors deliberated long and hard before coming to our decision. We held hours of Board-wide virtual meetings on Zoom, and several late night one-on-one FaceTime calls between several of the key decision makers on the Executive Editorial Committee. All options were considered; every conceivable course of action was given a fair hearing. But in the end, we decided that the safety and health of our staff and our readers were too important to leave to chance. Even if it meant breaking with tradition.
In other words, our lawyers won out and we decided that is was smarter to make the "CYA" move of trying to limit our potential liabilities than to hold steadfast to our principles.
The following is the official "touch less" Drive and Dish bracket for the 2021 NCAA Tournament, as agreed to virtually on Zoom and officially recorded by Editor in Chief, S.K. (it will be uploaded to the blockchain and offered for auction as an NFT on the first day of the Final Four):
Occasional guest commentator G.O., has delivered a handwritten bracket -- in the traditional Drive and Dish pen-on-paper format -- to Drive and Dish headquarters. G.O., also known as "Ozzie," was unaware of the new Drive and Dish COVID-19 health guidelines and the corresponding changes that have been made to our NCAA Tournament Bracket filing policies.
The Drive and Dish Board of Directors held an emergency Zoom call and decided to allow the G.O. handwritten guest bracket, even though it violates the new Drive and Dish COVID-19 health guidelines.
However, pursuant to our new COVID-19 health protocols, the G.O. handwritten guest bracket was quarantined for 48 hours in a fully sealed disinfectant chamber that was guarded by armed private security contractors dressed in hazmat suits. Upon the completion of the 48 hour quarantine, the bracket was cryogenically frozen for six hours, and then thawed by a laser.
It was then delivered to the Drive and Dish headquarters, where it was scanned and uploaded to Drive and Dish: