The annual Combine has always been the place where coaches, general managers and scouts have been able to see potential NFL players display their athletic ability front and center on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. It has received the infamous name of the "Underwear Olympics" due to the athletic wear the Under Armour outfits don when they run the 40, or do the 225 lb bench press.
This event is for the people listed above. The rest of us, we can only watch guys run slant routes and do their verticals so much in a five day span. After the first two days or so, it's like watching a high school football teams 7 on 7 drills in the summer before they are allowed to put the pads on for camp.
The creation of the NFL Network offered us a look inside at what goes on in Indianapolis during that five day span in late February. We're all football deprived for two and a half weeks following the Super Bowl and we need some football to talk about, right? That is where the Combine comes in for football junkies to get their fix.
For all the running, jumping and drills these guys do, it still leaves many to wonder what their favorite team will do in the draft in May. Even after the Combine concluded, the Houston Texans are probably still pondering who they are going to take. For the journalists who cover the event, they need stories to fill the football sections of their local paper or website (see any story involving Clowney).
This event isn't for us. It's for the coaches, general managers and scouts. We have just been lucky enough to get a look inside the event over the past decade.
Looking at the history of the Scouting Combine, media members were prohibited from being inside during the event. That has changed since the NFL Network started showing it in 2004. We were all amazed getting all this access inside an event that nobody in the public got to see before. It was revolutionary. I had some friends and even coaches in high school who were hooked on it. But like any great show, it eventually jumps the shark. Perhaps the 30 plus hours of coverage is to blame for that.
The coverage of it is overdone, but you have to admire how much time scouts and analysts like Mike Mayock put into following these prospects and knowing so much about them. Mayock had a phone presser last week regarding the Combine that almost went three hours. All most of us can do is assume a guy is great because he runs a fast 40 or that guy is gonna be good because he reps 225lbs over 35 times.
While knowing a guy is in shape and has the strength to be a pro player, the biggest part of the Combine are the interviews. This is something we don't see, but we hear bits and pieces about them through the media and some of the odd questions teams ask these prospects.
Of course, there were some stories we got during the Combine.
The one that is topping my chart is San Diego State running back Adam Muema, who left the Combine because "God told him to." He assured everyone that the Seattle Seahawks would draft him. There's having faith, then there's that. If Muema is letting a higher power make choices for him that could affect the outcome of a game, his reliability might be questioned. As of today, nobody can contact him. He's not missing, but it's weird. But if he does go to the Seahawks, church attendance might see a slight increase. If God has a sense of humor, Muema gets drafted by the Browns.
Second, one of the main reasons we watch any coverage is the 40 yard dash. Running back Dri Archer, of Kent State, had a time of 4.26 seconds. That's an average of 1.06 seconds per every 10 yards. We all love a little "MACtion." We could see Archer in the NFL somewhere. Archer better be careful with that speed, though. He might be entering the "Danger Zone."
-For those of you who got that joke, I hope you enjoyed it.
The last thing is the two guys with that are projected high picks but have some baggage: Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney is built like an athlete. He is built for the NFL. Problem is, many continue to question his work ethic. Of course, everyone is questioning that, but that's for Clowney to prove to his future NFL team.
Oh, Johnny Football. A short quarterback with a good 40 who might have some worrying that he'll be downing one at a party when he's in the pros. Manziel is trying to prove that he is more mature than people think. Like Clowney, that media wants to paint a picture of him leading up to the NFL Draft.
To sum it all up, you probably watched to see your favorite player from your favorite college team run the 40, or the big name guys like Manziel and Clowney do it. That is all we really want.
That and also seeing the NFL Network's Rich Eisen run the 40 in a full suit and tie, with the help of some Under Armour shoes that make you run faster or something. If you didn't see it yet, Eisen did the dash in under six second (5.98 seconds, nobody is rounding up).
But don't you fret about the Combine being over. There will be plenty of local and national sports coverage leading up to the NFL Draft in May. All leading up to the big night at Radio City Music Hall.
Thus continuing football's "circle of life."