Combine sets NFL Network ratings records

As if we needed any more evidence that the NFL is more popular than ever, the league today issued a press release touting all-time high ratings for the Scouting Combine on NFL Network.

A total of 6.6 million viewers watched the Combine on NFL Network this year, a 27 percent increase over the 5.2 million viewers last year. On Sunday, when the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers were working out, an average of more than 400,000 people were watching at any given time.

With a steady increase in the ratings since NFL Network first started showing the Combine, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the NFL is a year-round sport, with fans staying passionate during the offseason, even when we don’t have any football to watch and have to settle for future players running around in shorts and T-shirts.

And the passion of fans during the offseason is all the more reason that the owners and the players need to get a deal worked out now, and not allow a months-long lockout to turn the offseason into a labor war.