It’s that time of year again, when my hometown of Indianapolis welcomes the NFL’s annual Scouting Combine.
Even though I’m a huge football fan and I’ve lived in Indy for almost 10 years, it wasn’t very long ago that I had no idea what the Scouting Combine was or that Indianapolis has been the host since 1987. The Combine is essentially a week-long job interview for college football players hoping for a chance to be drafted into the NFL. Their week consists of medical tests, physical drills, mental evaluations, and interviews. Every team from the NFL sends its coaches, general managers and scouts to the Combine to see the players for themselves and evaluate which ones might be a good fit for their team … and hopefully their next breakout star.
It’s a wonderful opportunity for the city of Indianapolis. It’s estimated that the Combine brings over $5 million in revenue to the city. Each year Indianapolis sees an influx of nearly 800 media personnel, 300 athletes, and the staff of every football team in the NFL. It’s very cool as a fan to spend some time in the city, especially over the Combine weekend. You’ll see focused athletes making their way from hotels to Lucas Oil Stadium. How will you know when you’ve spotted a player? They’re all numbered. Seriously.
Spend any time in a downtown bar or restaurant and you’ll likely run into a current or former player, coach, or media person you know. Last year I had to patiently shuffle behind New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton through a crowded bar to make my way to the ladies room. We were so close I could smell his Juicy Fruit.
So if you’re in Indy, it’s a fun time to wander around downtown for a bit and soak up a very unique football atmosphere, one you can’t find anywhere else.
Speaking of a unique football atmosphere, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King will be heading up the 7th annual Scouting Combine Tweetup this Friday. You can read the story about how I stumbled into my first Combine Tweetup a few years ago. Since then it’s been one of the highlights of the year for me. This year I have the nail-biting task of organizing the Tweetup for Mr. King! If you’re in or near Indy this weekend, I’d love for you to come. Here are the details:
NFL Scouting Combine Tweetup. You have burning questions about the NFL or the upcoming draft, we have NFL insiders with answers.
Anyone who wants to come! You aren’t required to have a Twitter account, nor do you need to have ever sent a single tweet. However, if you are on Twitter and follow various NFL media, chances are one of them will either be on the panel or in attendance. In past years, we’ve had Indy’s Bob Kravitz, the NFL Network’s Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport, Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier and Matt Miller. Oh yeah, and that ESPN guy Adam Schefter was there once, too.
Sun King Brewing Company, 135 North College Avenue, Indianapolis. Pints of their delicious Fresh•Local•Beer will be available for purchase.
Friday, February 20, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
So we’re trying something a little different this year, and charging for tickets. However, all the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Thrive360. Thrive360 is a local non-profit whose mission is to feed the hungry both locally and globally. This organization means a lot to me, not only because I’ve volunteered with them before, or for the good work they do, but because they make it a priority for families to be able to volunteer together. Anyone with young kids knows it can be hard to find appropriate opportunities the whole family can participate in. All this is to say, your $10 is going to a great cause. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and you can get them via our Eventbrite page. Hurry, though – tickets are selling fast.
I hope to see you there! If we haven’t met before, please find me and introduce yourself!