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Millions of people will watch football players run and jump

2013 NFL Combine Getty Images

When NFL Network first decided to start showing the Scouting Combine on TV, a lot of skeptics asked, “Who on earth would watch a bunch of guys running and jumping?”

The answer: Millions of people.

In fact, NFL Network drew an audience of 7.25 million viewers for the Scouting Combine, its best number ever and up 11 percent from last year’s 6.51 million viewers. On three of the four days when on-field workouts were taking place, Combine ratings were up this year from last year. Only Sunday, when quarterbacks work out, was down: This year’s weak crop of quarterbacks didn’t draw as many fans as last year’s class, led by Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

And this serves as one more reminder that in American television, nothing can measure up to the NFL. Fans will watch anything NFL-related, even if it’s just 40-yard dashes run by a bunch of guys who aren’t even in the NFL yet.

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47 Responses to “Millions of people will watch football players run and jump”
  1. eastsideballa says: Mar 1, 2013 6:45 AM

    No competition, NFL is king the very existence of the NBA angers me.

  2. chucknorrissinspiration says: Mar 1, 2013 6:47 AM

    I didn’t watch a second of it, and I’m proud of that.

  3. coachbeck says: Mar 1, 2013 6:54 AM

    NFL network will carry it to rising viewership until one of the networks pay th to show it

  4. thetechnocrat says: Mar 1, 2013 6:57 AM

    I watched some of it. I like the 40 and the db/lb drills. They are a great way to see if they have natural feet and hips when in coverage.

    I hate the vertical jump. I don’t care how high they jump versus their reach. If a 5’9 guy jumps blah it doesn’t impress versus a 6′ guy that jumps the same. The 6′ guy gets higher in the air. All I care about is how high they get in the air to knock down a ball or make a catch.

  5. patrickwins says: Mar 1, 2013 6:59 AM

    Watched 5 minutes of this boring display and decided that even being a diehard NFL fan this was overkill- Yikes, what’s happened to me!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. alewatcher says: Mar 1, 2013 7:00 AM

    I would guess that some this increase is due to the NFL network finally being on TWC. That was a huge untapped market.

  7. sportsmeccabi says: Mar 1, 2013 7:03 AM

    Stop picking on us.

    We’re drug addicts needing to get our fix.

  8. lgbarn says: Mar 1, 2013 7:09 AM

    eastsideballa says:
    Mar 1, 2013 6:45 AM
    No competition, NFL is king the very existence of the NBA angers me.

    —————————————————–

    Dude, if you don’t like the NBA, then don’t watch. Basketball is a great game. I like football better but don’t trash the NBA. I’m not a hockey fan but I don’t have a problem with the NHL…to each his own

  9. kane337 says: Mar 1, 2013 7:12 AM

    You guys want to watch me run and jump?

  10. jimbroney says: Mar 1, 2013 7:14 AM

    I’m proud of you chuck.

  11. gotampabay52 says: Mar 1, 2013 7:33 AM

    Baseball is not an American pastime anymore

  12. blueballz77 says: Mar 1, 2013 7:34 AM

    Gotta find those fantasy sleepers early!

  13. tubaplayingprof says: Mar 1, 2013 7:36 AM

    Why I don’t watch the combine OR the draft:

    Mike Mamula

  14. tubaplayingprof says: Mar 1, 2013 7:40 AM

    Why I don’t watch the combine OR the draft:

    Mike Mamula

    I mean when only the NYT will publish a defense of a player’s career…

  15. mydoglouie says: Mar 1, 2013 7:40 AM

    I prefer to watch actual sports that are being played in season.

    But I am a sports fan, not just an one dimensional NFL fan.

    Besides, the combine is overkill, there is no substitute for the player actually playing the game.

  16. broncobeta says: Mar 1, 2013 7:44 AM

    As big as a football fan as I am, I decided to branch out to at least one more sport. I choose basketball, specifically the NBA.

    It was a great decision. I love not obsessing about football year round.

    I mean the offseason is kind of sad. And the things people talk about to keep interested is even sadder.

    On the radio yesterday in Denver they kept replaying an interview with John Elway to guess what the Broncos were going to do in the draft. The conversation kind of went like this:

    John Elway: “Our offensive line played great, but they’re banged up right now and you never know what’s going to be available. When taking players in the draft you always try to make the team better at every position.”

    Radio People: “You see, Elway talked about how the offensive line is banged up, but that’s a smokescreen! They’re going to draft a corner for sure!!!”

    It’s nice to get away for a bit.

  17. packerman1968 says: Mar 1, 2013 7:46 AM

    I must be really addicted. I was one of the 300 who went to the combine.

    Hello, I am Packerman1968, and I am a NFL- aholic

  18. evrybdyhas1 says: Mar 1, 2013 7:53 AM

    That is because all other programming on TV sucks.

  19. tonyricemajorharris says: Mar 1, 2013 8:07 AM

    What a waste of time. The combine is a joke

  20. In the Weeds says: Mar 1, 2013 8:50 AM

    I would like to watch some of them take an SAT Test.

  21. tundey says: Mar 1, 2013 8:51 AM

    That’s because everybody is now an NFL GM, what with the availability of the All-22 coaches tape. So after watching that all season-long, how are you going stop these guys from doing their GM duties and scouting up coming talents?

  22. mhs8031 says: Mar 1, 2013 8:56 AM

    It is the first time the fan gets to compare athletes’ raw ability–conferences are different, levels of competition are different. Great stuff–it is a meat market to see who is available.

    I am not that impressed with the NFL Network’s coverage of this, however. We were blown away by the Honey Badger’s quest for a payday, Deon Sanders’ ego, and long ramblings from other ex-players who stole the camera from the participants.

    Having said that, I thing Charles Davis, Rich Eisen, and Mike Mayock are great. The others are stupidly uninteresting.

  23. godofwine330 says: Mar 1, 2013 9:02 AM

    First of all the Neilssen ratings system that “shows” how popular a TV show was is completely bogus. They are on random TVs where they have 1 TV represent x thousands of viewers but they are disproportionately placed and aren’t accurate at all. Until they put them in every TV bought talk of ratings is no more than guessing how many M&Ms are in a jar.

    I did watch a little of the combine, and I miss John Lott. Listening to Mayock, and professionals like Sanders & Faulk critique the players during drills showed the strengths and weaknesses of players. But no way could I watch the whole thing.

  24. despenc925 says: Mar 1, 2013 9:39 AM

    I only watched to see Leon Sandcastle.

  25. pgh15212 says: Mar 1, 2013 10:19 AM

    What a disgustingly lazy society we live in!

  26. RavenzGunnerz says: Mar 1, 2013 10:53 AM

    I like the combine. I think it’s little bit like an Olympics event.

  27. rugbyisbetter says: Mar 1, 2013 10:58 AM

    Wait how is this a surprise? Millions of people turn on the Olympics to watch elite athletes run and jump.
    In the US we have many elite athletes that are playing football over running in the Olympics. Why can we not apply the same principles?
    Except this is more enticing because you may see this player with your favorite team’s jersey on his back.

    Grant it, I have not watched a single second. But I would be lying if I told you skipped over every Combine article…

  28. vaphinfan says: Mar 1, 2013 11:04 AM

    I may even do my own combine and send it in to Tosh.O

  29. briang123 says: Mar 1, 2013 11:08 AM

    I spent 7 hours watching the Combine wondering why people would watch 5 minutes of it.

  30. ajb3313 says: Mar 1, 2013 11:20 AM

    I might consider watching if they turned the thing into an Offense/Defense Challenge along the same lines as those old Real World/Road Rules Challenges.

    Instead of the 40-yard dash, teams square off in weird jousting matches atop a cartoon-ish looking scaffold. In lieu of a high jump, defensive lineman mud wrestle scrawny quarterbacks. Replace the all the throwing drills with something that pits five offensive players against five defensive players in some kind of bungee jumping drill.

    Then, instead of having them white board plays (which they’ll eventually televise too), have them vote each other off which will force them to form alliances and show off their intellectual prowess.

    Also, get rid of the draft. Teams just get assigned players based on the final standings of the Offense/Defense Challenge. Congratulations, Chiefs, you get the slow cornerback who happened to be a really good swimmer and charmer!

  31. hooterdawg says: Mar 1, 2013 11:24 AM

    Just further proof that many NFL followers have no significant reallife. The NFL is known for its casual fans who are led by the sports media to believe that the televised Combine must be a significant program. If you missed it, you missed nothing.

  32. glennsyank13 says: Mar 1, 2013 11:28 AM

    eastsideballa says: Mar 1, 2013 6:45 AM

    No competition, NFL is king the very existence of the NBA angers me.

    ———-

    So does punctuation.

  33. zeke2517 says: Mar 1, 2013 11:35 AM

    People will do what they are told. This is not new.

  34. granadafan says: Mar 1, 2013 11:38 AM

    I love football, but people need to branch out to watch other sports and not be so insular. Baseball starts next month and there’s just something great about sitting in the sun with a brat and beer watching baseball. Hockey is a fast paced hard hitting game with incredibly skilled athletes on skates. NBA playoffs are around the corner.

    Despite not being “American”, soccer/football is a fantastic sport is the most popular sport in the world for good reason. Our men’s national team is in the middle of qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Brazil. The MLS also starts soon. FC Barcelona is fighting with Real Madrid for the top spot in the Spanish league which feature top athletes.

  35. thraiderskin says: Mar 1, 2013 11:40 AM

    The combine for me, is an opportunity to see guys who are good football players, show what they physically got.

  36. oif3gunner says: Mar 1, 2013 12:08 PM

    Hold on, people watched something that was televised!?!?! Amazing, absolutely amazing reporting……

  37. detectivekimble says: Mar 1, 2013 12:28 PM

    let me know when they start taping players taking the wonderlic test

  38. azarkhan says: Mar 1, 2013 12:45 PM

    I did not watch the combine, I have never watched the combine, and I never will watch the combine. Ditto for the draft.

  39. poridge1214 says: Mar 1, 2013 1:48 PM

    What it also goes to show is that we can go ahead and dump the stupid, meaninless exercise we call the Pro Bowl, and substitute it with a skills challenge. They tout 12 million viewers as a reason the Pro Bowl should stay. But I would venture to guess if the Combine, in which 99% of the players are completely unknown could draw 6.5 million viewers, then certainly current NFL players doing the same could easily double that number.

  40. theuglitruth says: Mar 1, 2013 1:51 PM

    “I did not watch the combine, I have never watched the combine, and I never will watch the combine. Ditto for the draft.”

    That’s as un-American as it can get!

  41. thegreatgabbert says: Mar 1, 2013 1:58 PM

    Who would watch football players run and jump? You would. You’re THAT GUY.

  42. whateverhommie says: Mar 1, 2013 2:04 PM

    thetechnocrat says:
    Mar 1, 2013 6:57 AM
    I watched some of it…I hate the vertical jump. I don’t care how high they jump versus their reach. If a 5’9 guy jumps blah it doesn’t impress versus a 6′ guy that jumps the same. The 6′ guy gets higher in the air. All I care about is how high they get in the air to knock down a ball or make a catch.
    ———————————–

    Umm…I hate to disappoint you but the vertical jump is all about a player’s explosive capabilities or “get off”. It has NOTHING to do with whether or not a guy can jump up to bat a ball down or make a catch.

  43. tdk24 says: Mar 1, 2013 2:06 PM

    I watched none of it. Nada. Zilch. It’s hard to watch today’s players, they just don’t have the talent it seems.

  44. whateverhommie says: Mar 1, 2013 2:06 PM

    azarkhan says:
    Mar 1, 2013 12:45 PM
    I did not watch the combine, I have never watched the combine, and I never will watch the combine. Ditto for the draft.
    ————————————-

    Then you sir are a casual fan. Those who DO watch these events are your more hardcore/die-hard fans that want to know, experience, live every aspect of their respective team and the game of football as a whole.

  45. whateverhommie says: Mar 1, 2013 2:09 PM

    granadafan says:
    Mar 1, 2013 11:38 AM
    I love football, but people need to branch out to watch other sports and not be so insular. Baseball starts next month and there’s just something great about sitting in the sun with a brat and beer watching baseball. Hockey is a fast paced hard hitting game with incredibly skilled athletes on skates. NBA playoffs are around the corner.

    Despite not being “American”, soccer/football is a fantastic sport is the most popular sport in the world for good reason. Our men’s national team is in the middle of qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Brazil. The MLS also starts soon. FC Barcelona is fighting with Real Madrid for the top spot in the Spanish league which feature top athletes.
    ——————————————-

    Try telling the world’s soccer fans to not be so insular and take in more football…especially the NFL Combine and Draft.

  46. degehring says: Mar 1, 2013 2:29 PM

    I don’t watch any of the Combine coverage. I have nothing against it. Just isn’t my thing.

    EXCEPT…

    Rich Eisen’s annual 40-yard dash (and the post-run analysis). IMO, that’s comedic gold every year! LOL

  47. kw27p says: Mar 1, 2013 2:42 PM

    Combine or the pro bowl??? Tough one lol

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