The NFL has launched its own version of American Idol, allowing anyone (regardless of gender) at least three years removed from high school to try out for real, live scouts.
At the low, low price of $275.
So just in time for the looming launch of the holiday shopping season, the NFL has announced the full slate of 2014 Regional Combines. They’ll happen on February 8-9 in Houston, February 15-16 in New York/New Jersey, February 22 in Los Angeles, March 1 in Tampa Bay, March 8-9 in Atlanta, March 15 in Chicago, March 22 in Miami, March 22-23 in Seattle, March 29 in Indianapolis, and March 29-30 in Baltimore.
The Super Regional Combine, which occurs by invitation only (i.e., the unskilled and/or delusional need not apply), happens on April 12-13 at Ford Field in Detroit.
For prospective kickers and punters, you should circle February 9, February 16, and March 23 as the days for showing up, paying the money, realizing that you’re out of your element, pretending to injure your leg on the first try, and going home.
Yes, it’s the American way to collect money that others gladly will provide, but it still seems a bit unseemly for the NFL to be in the business of applying the inscription on the Statue of Liberty to a nation of weekend warriors who can’t begin to comprehend that the NFL operates multiple levels higher than where their skills reside.
Instead, the league is embracing it, even harvesting a perfunctory observation from one of the most respected executives in the game.
“As a General Manager, I am always looking for opportunities to get information on as many college players as I can,” Ozzie Newsome said. “The NFL Regional Combines are another resource I can use.”
There’s a ringing endorsement. It’s something I can use. Not that I will use, but that I can use.
Ozzie can say the same thing about Wikipedia, and Wikipedia would be roughly as valuable.
The biggest difference? Wikipedia won’t generated $275 per person.