Published February 24, 2012
The fact that the NFL Scouting Combine
has become such a big programming initiative for NFL Network comes as no surprise to some of the league's senior execs. "Our goal is to really own that period of time from the end of college to the NFL Draft," said NFL Network Senior VP/Programming & Production Mark Quenzel. "The Combine is where the rubber meets the road for a lot of players." NFL Network totaled 6.6 million viewers for its coverage of the '11 NFL Scouting Combine, up 27% over 5.2 million total viewers in '10. Quenzel still views it as a growth property for NFL Network. "It seems like a great time here. Overall interest in anything having to do with the NFL does well," he said. "It's not everybody's cup of tea. But it works because it's different from anything else you see on TV." One of the announcers NFL Network plans to lean on is Mike Mayock, who Quenzel describes as the star of NFL Network's Combine coverage. "He literally knows every fact on every kid there," Quenzel said. During this year's coverage, Quenzel said he is paying closer attention to the statistics that get thrown around, making sure NFL Network's 22 on-air talent at the event properly explains them. The network also will roll out a computer graphics program that demonstrates what some of the statistics really mean and compares, for example, one player's time in the 40-yard dash to another's.