A Pointless Part of Football: The NFL Combine

Austin Hilliker, Sports Editor

When I think of football, I think of jaw dropping catches, bone crunching tackles and game winning drives.

Now what If I told you there was another part of football that involved a seven day event with athletes taking turns to jump up in the air a few times, run in a straight line a couple more times and even catch a few passes from a quarterback that they have never seen?

Well that’s what we call the National Football League scouting combine, and its the most boring part of football.

Every year towards the end of February, a large group of the best athletes in college football gather in Indianapolis and showcase their skills in front of hundreds of NFL scouts.

Since 1982, when the event was first started, the goal of this week long event was for athletes to perform with the hope of standing out to future employers.

I’ve been a football fan for quite some time now. I’ve spectated, participated and even coached the sport.

In all the years that I’ve been around the game, my friends and family always find a way to mention the NFL combine. They talk about how one athlete jumped the farthest, another ran the fastest and that there was even a coach who made a funny comment about a player during a live press conference. That just doesn’t seem fun to me. In all honestly, it sounds really boring.

It seems today that the combine focuses more on how bad someone did, as opposed to how good someone did.

For instance, former quarterback from Florida State University, Jameis Winston, ran a 4.97 second 40-yard dash time, which was slower than offensive lineman Ali Marpet, a 307 pound lineman from Hobart and Williams Smith Colleges.

Yes, you read that right, a 307-pound lineman beat the 2013 Heisman trophy winner. That shouldn’t happen, but the fact that it did actually moved Winston down in most of the NFL teams draft boards. This hurt the iconic quarterback’s chances of getting drafted.

Each year, NFL scouts watch hundreds of college football games, evaluating every player, with the hope that a few of the young men will be drafted come May.

This is a time for the scouts to gather everything they need to know about a player. So what’s the point of having a combine, if you already know everything about how a player performs on the field?

Last time I checked, there was this thing called the Olympics, where athletes get paid to jump high and far, run fast and lift weights. If you want to do that, join the national team, instead of putting on a pointless event that isn’t going to change how young men play football.

Props to NFL network for keeping people busy in the off-season with the NFL combine, but if it were my choice, I’d get rid of the entire thing.

Stick to watching how the athletes perform on the field during an entire season, instead of a seven day event.

 

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