I’ve grown quite accustomed to the quizzical looks I get when I talk about the NFL Scouting Combine. Not many people outside of the NFL-obsessed know about it, and most of them don’t care. I get it. But for me, what started out as an event I stumbled upon quite by accident has turned into something I look forward to immensely every year.
The NFL Scouting Combine takes places each February in Indianapolis. College athletes who have declared their intention to come out for the NFL draft in the spring hope to get an invitation to the Combine, where scouts and NFL coaching staffs will observe them in action. Impress people at the Combine and you can see your draft stock rise significantly.
If you’ve seen anything from the Combine, it’s most likely the athletes running the 40-yard-dash. The workouts and drills are just one part of the evaluation process players go through. From the moment these young men step off the plane, they are under constant scrutiny. While at the Combine, they will go through extensive medical and psychological testing, team interviews, as well as the workouts and drills. It’s essentially the most important job interview of their life … one that goes on for 4 days straight.
Since 1987 the Combine has made its home in Indianapolis. Thanks to our excellent athletic facilities and world-class sports medicine center (as well as our kick-ass craft beer scene – let’s be honest), we’re the perfect hosts. Over 900 credentialed media descend upon Indy, in conjunction with the athletes, NFL coaches, general managers, and scouts.
For the average Indianapolis resident, this means virtually nothing. For the city, hotels, restaurants and bars? It’s huge. It’s estimated that the Combine has an economic impact of $6.5 million dollars to Indianapolis. So yes, I’m not the only one around here who gets excited about the Combine.
As a fan both of football and the people who cover it, the Combine is a chance to geek out in my hometown. It starts with the annual Combine Tweetup. You may remember, I attended my first Tweetup four years ago. It’s where I first met Peter King, and thanks to that chance interaction I’ve found myself both in the Monday Morning Quarterback column as well as writing for the the Sports Illustrated site. Pretty darn cool.
We attended the Tweetup on Friday night. It was awesome as usual, with a great panel including Peter, Pat McAfee, Doug Farrar, Matt Miller, and Adam Schefter. Speaking of awesome, how about me finally meeting the King of Breaking NFL News on Twitter himself? Let me introduce you to my “HOLY SHIT, IT’S ADAM SCHEFTER! face:
Afterwards we hit the town, catching up with old friends and admiring players, coaches, and media kingpins from afar. Or literally running into them – I was so close to Sean Payton I could smell his Juicy Fruit. And maybe getting a little too chummy with Rich Eisen too soon and inviting him to your house for a poker game. Whatever. For football geeks like Mike and I, it’s so much fun … but thankfully not nearly as much “fun” as I had last year.
On Sunday we had the chance, thanks to 1iota, to attend the actual Combine and see the quarterbacks, wideouts, and running backs work out. And while Peter King may have compared it to “watching paint dry,” for the fan who appreciates what it takes to make it to the league, it’s a thrill to see.
So now it’s over for another year. It’s a long time to wait, between now and the first days of training camp. So long, in fact, that I’m seriously considering trying to score tickets to the Draft in New York City in May. I mean, that’s totally normal, right?
I’m guessing from the Adam Schefter face you’re throwing right back at me, the answer is a resounding no.