An example of the real value of the Underwear Olympics

As the Winter Olympics conclude and the Underwear Olympics a/k/a the Scouting Combine continues, a league source has shared with us some anecdotal information regarding the correlation between the perceived performance in drills and on-field football performance.

The source says that, several years back, he had video of a running back doing a workout that included various drills — running, cutting, receiving, etc.  The tape contained no markings on the field or the T-shirt that could be used to identify the player.

So the source had various scouts and personnel types review the tape and evaluate the player, without telling them that the player already was in the league.

The response was lukewarm.  “He’s OK,” one guy said.  “Nothing special,” said another.

Not only was the player already in the league, but he was playing at a Pro Bowl level.

The point is that scouts often are influenced by the names on the shirt, and that grades applied to players could be much different if the drills were conducted blindly.

That’s why some personnel types joke that grades given to some players are written in pencil, and that grades in a player’s files can mysteriously change at various stages of his NFL career.

28 responses to “An example of the real value of the Underwear Olympics

  1. Not really a valuable example if we don’t know who it was. I mean it could be a guy like Priest Holmes who was a relatively limited athlete in comparison to how he performed on the field (and how great his blockers were). If your source set out to prove the uselessness of the combine, he wouldn’t do this exercise with someone who would grade out well now would he.

  2. Leo Crow – you miss the point completely. Being a good football player is clearly dependent on athletic ability, but athletic ability does not guarantee being a good football player. The combine identifies good athletes who become prematurely immortalized by the likes of Mel Kiper. Scouts get caught up in the hype & overvalue drills and 40 times. In the forever prescient words of Bill Polian (a man who knows a thing or two about football players as opposed to athletes), “Who the f*** is Mel Kiper!?”

    How did you like those 3 periods and a part of overtime with not a single commercial interuption?
    Why can’t they do a Super Bowl or other games the same way on national TV on a Sunday afternoon?

  4. Man I am with you, the “under wear olympics” simply is not funny. Never was never will be. You honestly sound like a young kid who just learned his new cuss word.
    I see men in workout gear. Of course I am a heterosexual man and that is expected. Florio obviously see’s what he wants to see…men in underwear.

  5. sounds like a fake story! how would they not notice a pro bowlers face? also how would they ever set this up. this is the worst story i have ever heard

  6. Hats off to Team USA, they were awesome.
    They pushed Team Canada to the brink, only to have Sid the kid come through in the clutch.
    Team USA has nothing to be ashamed about, that’s for sure.

  7. I honestly thought this article was about the Lingerie League have Olympic-like events……so dissappointing
    Update us on the bras and boy shorts damn it!!
    A clever article title should make the reader read more deeply, not read and then become deeply dissappointed

  8. There is a value to the combine… all the players are measured by the same standards. How often do teams lie on height and/or weight. Yes, teams need to look at game tape to evaluate a prospect, but having more knowledge of a player that teams are going to pay millions of dollars for isn’t a bad thing.

  9. Bob S. says:
    February 28, 2010 8:40 PM
    Having been a hockey fan since 1993 (thanks for some guys turning me onto hockey while in the Marine Corps in of all places Hawaii) that was the best game I ever saw. Great drama, great plays, and a great atmosphere added up to probably the highest rated hockey game all-time.

  10. Idiot! If there are no markings on the field a scout would have no frame of reference to determine how fast, or slow, the player is moving if he’s watching it on film. Also, did u even try to make this article believable or even relevant? First, I doubt there’s any truth this because if the scouts in question not identified, why with hold the name of the player? Oh wait, he doesn’t exist, that’s why. But let’s assume the article is true, he didn’t have a shirt on and there weren’t any markings on the field…what does that mean? It means that this workout didn’t happen at the combine…all the players at the combine have to wear their t-shirts and it takes place on a marked football field!!!! So what? Well, this “anecdotal” story has absolutely nothing to do with combine, thus, a dumb, irrelevant theory is supported by evidence that, in reality, has nothing to do with the topic on which it is based!!!! In sum, if you are going to point out how scouts can be wrong or influenced improperly, first, you should realize that ALL of them, who do it for a living, have forgotten more about football than you could ever know. Second, if you are going to make a point, make sure that it’s supported by something that a five year old girl can’t see right through…anyone agree?

  11. How would they not notice his face? Film it from a distance. Put a helmet on him. Dress him up like Florio. Whatever. Why is this so hard to believe? Lots of eventual NFL stars were not workout warriors and even more workout warriors have flopped as pros. The Combine is primarily a media hyped event and you guys are picking on a member of the media for calling it what it is?! Worst set of comments I’ve ever read (though I too am curious to know who it was).

  12. Geeez Florio,
    Hey Florio, can you lighten up on the combine?
    Just because your West Virginia half-breeds, sister-marrying, bugger-eating, morons are not invited does not mean it’s a bad event.
    Quoting “a league source” who provides “anecdotal information” is what a lazy loozer would do and has no real supportive evidence. But maybe Florio’s sourse is providing false information just like Florio’s explaination of why he hates Christian’s like Tebow.
    Thanks for showing your son how to be a dope-smoking, lame-ass, elevator band-playing, loser!

  13. From the female perspective … I’m thoroughly enjoying the “Underwear Olympics.” And though I’ve never been a fan, I have gained a greater appreciation for Tim Tebow this afternoon. Nice outfit 😉

  14. Uh Larry30, that is “distinguishing markings.” As in marking that would have identified the field.
    And the combine is scouting. Thus the story being about scouting makes it relevant.
    You’re the kind of person who should probably refrain from calling others idiots.

  15. “I think underwear olympics is kind of funny. Not sure why it’s infuriating so many people”-Autumn Wind 999
    Because they are elitist pissants who look for anything to bitch about. Unfortunately, people with scrawny lives have to feel good about their manhood, so they talk junk behind their fake names and computers. Wooo.
    I think underwear olympics is rather dumb, but I appreciate the attempt to make this site different, which it is.

  16. Yeah I’m actually going to side with the Florio-bashers on the whole “underwear olympics” thing. It was kind of witty at first…but if you were to always refer to Vince Young as uncle Rico and never as Vince Young, then that would get real old too.

  17. He’s another example of the real value of the NFL combine. Kid has a tremendous college career at offensive tackle at Alabama. Many talk about him being the first overall pick in the draft.
    Teams do have concerns about his commitment and conditioning, but hey, he looks tremendous on tape. He shows up at the combine overweight, then leaves the combine without telling anyone. More red flags.
    The Bengals still select him in the top ten, because of the tape they saw on him and his tremendous college career. He holds out, then finally signs, is out of shape, gets hurt, and is done for the year. He could still become a good player, but you don’t draft someone in the top ten for down-the-road potential. The Bengals should have heeded the combine warnings, but took Andre Smith anyway.

  18. “Ok… who was the player??? It’s like telling the joke and not including the punchline…”
    Shaun Alexander.

  19. Underwear olympics is not funny enough to use multiple times – Come up with something new

  20. uh thanks Abe Foreman…thanks for correcting me, I am an idiot, I guess because he wrote “markings” and not something like a “logo” I got confused…my bad…by the way, since I’m so dumb, could you explain what “the combine is scouting” means? Because, as I understand it, having been to the combine, in person, the combine seems, in my dumb mind, to be a week long session of testing, timing and information gathering. From what I saw, there was very little scouting that went on, in fact, when it was time for players to do the one thing during the process that could be “scouted”, the majority of scouts and coaches in attendance regularly left and didn’t watch. Maybe I’m wrong again, but to me, scouting is the evaluation of a player based studying the player’s performance in football games. The combine is part of the Draft preparation process but very little of what goes on is actual “scouting”. So, I’m wondering, how was I wrong when I asserted that criticizing one thing, the combine, by citing an example, a video of a player doing drills at a place other than the combine, that in all actuality has very little if anything to do with the thing that is being criticized?

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