NFL Considering Several Changes To Make Scouting Combine More Exciting For Fans
The NFL is “contemplating making several significant changes in the next few years” to its scouting combine, including “having prospects race against one another in the 40-yard dash and compete side by side to bench-press 225 pounds the most often,” according to Judy Battista of the N.Y. TIMES. NFL Exec VP/Business Ventures Eric Grubman said, “We would not want to do something that was just good for television, or just good for the fans, if it were at the expense of either the football evaluation or the players’ preparation. It’s a balancing act. The combine works.” The NFL said the changes would “probably be introduced first at the smaller regional combines before being brought to the main combine.” Giants President & CEO John Mara, a member of the competition committee, said that he would “expect some resistance to possible changes when they are brought to the attention of coaches and scouts.” Former Colts Vice Chair Bill Polian said, “This has grown to a football trade show and I understand that. What we have to do is be careful not to lose the player personnel evaluation purpose of this.” Battista notes the transformation of the combine “is part of the NFL’s larger plan to give fans greater access to information and, not coincidentally, to colonize more parts of the calendar for a league with the shortest playing season.” NFL Network is providing television coverage of the combine, and 600 fans Sunday “will watch combine workouts, a small rollout designed to make coaches and scouts comfortable with their presence.” They will be “kept far from team officials who will be scrutinizing players, but Grubman said that the number of fans will almost surely grow in the next few years, as long as this year’s experiment is successful” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/24).