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NFL thinking about turning Combine into a longer process


In the next few days, the NFL will begin descending on Indianapolis, and the miracle of offseason programming known as the Combine will fill TV screens again.

But while the rise of the Underwear Olympics in recent years has been remarkable, don’t be surprised to see more and more of it (programming, if not actual underwear) in the coming years.

Albert Breer of the NFL Network talked to league officials about the future of the combine, and one of the takeaways was how sincerely the league wants to expand the process.

Two years ago, they bought a system of regional workouts from Elite Football Combines, and have turned them into 10 league-sanctioned events from January to March, with a super-regional in Cowboys Stadium on April 7-8 for those who stood out at regionals.

If that sounds a little bit like American Idol to you, it’s not accidental, or the last step. The league’s using those smaller events for fringe prospects as a place to test changes they might implement at future combines, but also as a test of the system that would turn the process of timing and measuring of prospects into an even longer, and more catered-to-television product than it is.

Breer said league officials “envisioned moving the regionals up on the calendar and perhaps moving Indianapolis back,” allowing the “winners” of regional combines to advance to the next step.

“The combine won’t be maximized until we find a way to link it with the rest of the journey of these guys,” said Eric Grubman, NFL CFO and executive vice president of business ventures. “From a football operations standpoint, it’s very well-developed. But it’s an immature property, from a fan-access and fan-appeal standpoint.”

The league has already been open to fiddling with the process, by letting a few reporters into the building during workouts, then a few sponsors and fans, now two days worth of inside access.

It’s only a matter of time before the Combine turns from a long-weekend spectacle, to a miniseries of original programming for the network which might stretch over three months, in which some wide receiver from Southwest Nowhere State might become the latest reality television star.

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11 Responses to “NFL thinking about turning Combine into a longer process”
  1. mavajo says: Feb 19, 2013 8:03 AM

    The football purist in me is screaming that I should be offended, but frankly, this sounds cool.

  2. pksullivanmph says: Feb 19, 2013 8:11 AM

    Show me the money honey. @footballady52 🏈

  3. jimmymcnultysbottleofjameson says: Feb 19, 2013 8:13 AM


  4. PFT=crap says: Feb 19, 2013 9:04 AM

    Maybe they should model it after reality TV. There’s so many possibilities – Survivor, Jersey Shore, the Bachelor. Why not? The Cowboys did something like that a few years ago for an invite to training camp, it’s time to go full bore.

  5. adrianpeterson28 says: Feb 19, 2013 9:06 AM

    I’m all for it. NFL offseason withdrawals are the worst.

  6. granadafan says: Feb 19, 2013 9:24 AM

    Wih these regional combines, I’m picturing fat and out of shape slow guys like the movie Invincible with Mark Wahlberg.

  7. redpillmindstate says: Feb 19, 2013 10:08 AM

    Very forward looking could blossom into something that no one expects ….imagine all the great athletes out there who simply need an opportunity to enhance NFL quality physical talent into NFL quality football talent… wouldn’t be surprised to see some type of developmental league in the future to hone their skills especially if a few hidden gems pop up

  8. dietrich43 says: Feb 19, 2013 10:25 AM

    Maybe Uncle Rico will finally get his chance.

  9. thingamajig says: Feb 19, 2013 10:29 AM

    The real reason the NFL wants to expand the combine process is more money.

  10. footballchic777 says: Feb 19, 2013 12:02 PM

    money, money, money……honey! That is the driving force here. Anything that they can do to hype Americas most popular sport and squeeze for airtime and money!

  11. deltaoracle says: Feb 19, 2013 3:39 PM

    Isn’t the term “Underwear Olympics” a bit redundant? Are the other Olympics conducted in more clothing than these guys are wearing? (Well, I suppose most of the Winter Olympics are.) The term “Football Olympics” would make more sense to me, in any case.

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