Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Combine: From Secret to Circus

When I got an invitation to the NFL combine, I only had a small idea of what to expect. My agent sent me a "super-secret" VHS copy of another QB's performance.
The NFL Combine was once one of the greatest secrets around. All the teams were there to see the results of the bench press, 40 times, jumps and shuttles, so there was no real need to keep these tangibles under lock and key.
Today, since the NFL has to try and keep fresh programming on its own TV network, it has been made into a spectacle. The NFL Draft and the NFL Combine are two hot pieces of media that keep the fans going between seasons. No other sports league has anything even in the stratosphere of off-season interest like the NFL.
I was on the other side of the field when Deion Sanders ran his infamous 40 yard dash. Roomed with Troy Aikman, who didn't throw routes with the other guys and it didn't hurt his draft status.
If you are in the top pick area, it is a good idea to wait for your pro day. Throwing routes to guys you've never said hello to is tough to be good throw after throw. My biggest regret was not throwing the deep ball far enough. You want the receivers to get their chance to make catches and you don't know how fast they are, but looking back, I should have launched my deep balls past everybody, instead of allowing the receivers to slow down a bit and get the reception.
The 300+ players that spent last week in Indianapolis have put themselves on tape now. Some small school players have now been on national television. Some bigger school guys may have been exposed in the strength and explosiveness tests. The NFL teams that just measured and interviewed these players will narrow that field and make personal trips to campuses across the country for more one-on-one events and for pro days as the fans get ready for late April and the wall-to-wall NFL Draft coverage coming our way.

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