NFL Combine a Dog-and-Pony Show


Veteran NFL reporter John McClain described the NFL Combine best.

“Unless a QB is on his death bed, he should throw well cause he’s in shorts and T-shirt, nobody’s applying pressure, WRs aren’t covered.”

The only purpose of the Combine, from an organization perspective, is to interview players that teams are intrigued by. By this time in the process, John Elway and his scouting staff know who they want to target. The Combine serves as the first time they can interview those players. They’ll get a feel for their personality. For their intelligence. For who they are.

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In terms of the football, this time in Indianapolis is a dog-and-pony show. As McClain noted, the players do nothing in pads and nothing is against an opponent. As a quarterback, if you can’t succeed at the Combine, you should give up football. Same goes for every position on the field.

Let’s take the popular 40-yard dash, for instance. How in any way does that measure what a player can do on the field during the game? When at any point does a player run untouched 40 yards … while in shorts and a T-shirt? Are these guys trying out for the U.S. Track and Field team? Want to make it more “real?” Put the guys in pads and put a defender in front of them to fight through and get around.

I will admit, it’s fun to watch the fat guys try to run 40 yards at the Combine, but, again, when does an offensive line ever run 40 yards? Or a defensive lineman? While in shorts and a T-shirt?

Feb 18, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak speaks at a press conference during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

By this point in the process, every team at the Combine has an idea of who they want. This serves as the time to interview the players and find out their intelligence. Or how quick on their feet the players are. For example: How many different things can you think of that you can do with a paper clip? My answer would have been this: “MacGyver was my hero growing up, so it would have to be in the hundreds. He used paper clips like most use Duct tape.”

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The best comparison I can think of for the combine is a UFC fighter shadow fighting. “Wow, look at that quickness and the power of those punches and kicks. He has severe quickness getting off the mat. He has impeccable vision and the ability to read what his opponent will do.”

Most don’t get it. “You realize he’s not fighting anyone.” “Yeah, but did you see his 40-yard dash time? He also benched 225 pounds 32 times.”

Let’s take the Combine for what it is: A dog-and-pony show meant for a ratings grab.

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Next: Is Demaryius Thomas worth it?

Dec 28, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) before the start of the game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports