Veteran Combine will be televised, after all

Getty Images

At first, it seemed obvious that the first ever Veteran Combine was destined to be televised.  But the league previously said that wasn’t going to happen.

Something has since changed.  The NFL has issued an email blast announcing that the event will be televised at 8:00 p.m. ET Sunday on NFL Network.

With the second (or is it now the third?) round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament still rolling at that hour, the  Dalrymple-to-Costanza why-am-I-watching?-because-it’s-on-TV crowd will have something far more compelling to watch on TV.  But NFL Network doesn’t go dark during other major sporting events, and the competition arising from more than 100 out-of-work football players vying for one last shot at being signed to a 90-man offseason roster is better than no competition at all.

It’ll ultimately be not much competition.  The league may squeeze a team or two to give a handful of these guys a roster spot until after the offseason program ends, but the Veteran Combine will never become a reliable device for finding players who can contribute.  Former players are former players for a reason (and sometimes for many reasons).  Every team has the ability at any time to bring any former player to town for a workout, and to sign him to a contract.

The Veteran Combine gives a large group of former players a chance to conduct a mass workout at a time and a place where the coaches and General Managers have gathered for the annual meetings.  And it’s not impossible that a player or two will stand out.  If that happens, however, it’ll show that the 32 teams currently aren’t doing enough to search in every nook and cranny of the available pool of football talent for guys who can contribute.  Otherwise, the guys who rise to the top at the Veteran Combine would already have one of up to 2,880 roster spots currently available.

For many players, the Veteran Combine will provide closure, giving them that one last shot they crave before getting on with their post-football lives.  For that reason, it will have value.

Now, it also will have value because it will give NFL Network something to put on TV at a time when most American sports fans are transfixed by one of the few sports other than football that has the power to transfix American sports fans.

39 responses to “Veteran Combine will be televised, after all

  1. So Mel Kiper Jr. gets in another lather about how fast Tim Tebow runs the cone drill and why that maked his a top quarterback?

    Sounds riveting…

  2. The worrisome prospect is injury.For the incoming rookies, they have time to recover. The vets don’t. I guess it’s worth the prospect if your options are limited, but it seems like if theres already game tape of you in the pros, they know what you have.

  3. For some reason, “Veteran Combine” makes me think of people who served in the military.
    On a side note to that, I am certain that a “combine” letting America’s military vets show off their athletic/football skills would generate a whole lot of viewers. Who knows, some of them could be good enough to make an NFL roster. After all, how many million men are out their that are vets. Heck of a pool to look at.

  4. Bruce Arians, please read this quote:
    Every team has the ability at any time to bring any former player to town for a workout, and to sign a contract.
    Tip for the Coach of the year, use all your available resources to find a suitable qb for a playoff game.

  5. Now, it also will have value because it will give NFL Network something to put on TV…

    That’s the real reason. Sounds like Mark Cuban is getting very close to being 100% correct.

    What’s next, reality shows about retired players.

  6. It could well show that “some” of the 32 teams aren’t doing enough to search for talent. Unfortunately, I’m a Lions fan, and for as long as I can remember when the Lions have needed a veteran to fill a niche, they sign some guy who used to play for one of the coaches. In other words, they’ve got a weak or lazy GM. It could be the combine will provide the opportunity for teams with strong or hardworking GMs with a talent pool for those niches, and the Lions and other sluggards will continue to lose ground.

  7. Former players may be former players for a reason, but remember, many of those guys that release players, are released themselves quite often.

    What this does is lower uncertainty. Can a guy after an injury still perform? Is he over the hill? Well if he can still run a 4.5….

    There’s lots of situations where these guys fall to the wayside because there is great uncertainty with them.

    Maybe they were injured and the last season or two the tape looks really bad. A GM sees that and won’t take a look at the player.

    But if these guys can put some different, and perhaps positive tape out there, then various guys will get second shots.

    Veterans will be more adaptable and not have that rookie curve. Many of them will have been humbled to some degree.

    They won’t have the upside either, but they might just fill a need and be entirely serviceable.

    Good teaching coaches can take the raw material and make something good out of them. This presents an opportunity to these sorts of coaches to find a guy and have him contribute.

    It should be interesting to see the differences in the drill numbers between the veterans and rookies. It wouldn’t surprise me to see more of the veterans are stronger but also slower and less agile. We’ll see.

    Who knows how many will be signed. Though in subsequent years you might have more guys trying, and more guys that keep themselves in shape in order to try the next year. So this is something that might actually increase in quality as the years go by.

  8. For most of these guys there’s a lot of NFL tape already, so it will be tough not to comment on the disconnect. Wow, look at that, Johnson just ran a 4.42. Based on his 3.42 YPC I’m not sure if it really matters…

  9. For most of these players its a chance to get out of the house and hang out with old buddies. I would think their desire to play again for a veteran minimum contract is nonresistant.

  10. this is pathetic..they should show the guys name and the teams he played for and how much he got paid. Cause you had to be stealing checks and now no one wants you for you to be here.

  11. Am I the only one wondering IF this vet combine is being thrown together to make TV money for the NFL. Seems beneath vets to have to display themselves en mass for a position after having played and being a vet in the league.

    Dignity over NFL dollars?

  12. “xavier179 says: Mar 22, 2015 10:25 AM

    Bruce Arians, please read this quote:
    Every team has the ability at any time to bring any former player to town for a workout, and to sign a contract.
    Tip for the Coach of the year, use all your available resources to find a suitable qb for a playoff game.”

    Instead, this should have read,

    Michael Bidwill and AZ Cards fans, please ask Bruce Arians and Steve Keim:

    No other NFL head coach and NFL front office would have had the audacity and poor judgement to have turned over their offense of their front running and performing NFL team to Tyan Lindley, a QB who has proven to be inadequate for the NFL. Why did you, BA and Keim, jeopardize and kill your team’s chances to contend for the Super Bowl by going with a nice guy QB, but who merely then went out and proved and confirmed beyond all doubt in the Cards remaining games (all losses) that he is never going to be good enough to succeed in the NFL?

    This was INSANITY, arrogance and total misjudgment at their worst.

    So, Michael Bidwill and AZ Cards, how about lining up a decent back QB since Palmer and Stanton have proven to be a bit delicate?

    This crazy, arrogant, and dishonest stunt by BA choosing to reacquire and play a QB who had conclusively proven over and over again that he is just too inadequate for the NFL should have disqualified BA from any serious consideration the Coach of the Year.

  13. Why in the world are they showing this thing on a night when The Walking Dead rules cable? It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    Well, I suppose they could saye this is the NFL version of The Walking Dead. I seriously doubt if any of these veterans make a roster, unless the NFL steps in “for the good of the network”, and tries to pressure a team or two to pick up some of the vets.

    I don’t think that March Madness is necessarily a big deal at this point. I don’t do the whole bracket thing, but still, I can’t imagine that are many people who haven’t had their brackets already busted.

  14. I hope Terrell Owens is there, that guy can STILL ball with the best of them! I’d take him in a second!

  15. There are few things I can think of that are so mind numbingly dull as these combines. I don’t watch any of the rookie one and certainly won’t watch any of this.

  16. Anybody that watches this mindless event has too much time on their hands and needs to get a life and process a reality check. Better things to do play with your kids, hang with your buddies and watch march madness, spend time outdoors, hang with your wife do anything just don’t waste your time in your life that you will never get back watching this NFL sanctioned event.

  17. Who cares what anyone thinks about the vet combine. It’s like a job fair for people who went to school for a trade they love and don’t want to start a new career doing something else yet. It isn’t required watching, they put it on against the NCAA tourney on the NFL Network who probably will be happy to not show another top 10 list show or path to the draft rerun. So a bunch of guys who don’t want to call it quits get to show up and at least have some interaction with teams that might be looking for someone off the streets during the season after a bunch of injuries. Maybe they played some Arena or CFL ball and strengthened some of their weaknesses but don’t necessarily have much new tape to show it. If it helps get a few guys back in the league or helps some teams who don’t really have the best scouting departments it seems like a decent experiment at worst.

  18. theramonluster says:
    Mar 22, 2015 10:20 AM
    People who watch any sort of NFL combine, whether rookie or veteran, really need to find something more worthwhile to do with their lives
    Sure, but its really pathetic to NOT be one of those guys, but still go online to read about it AND WRITE IN about it on your Sunday afternoon!

    (Now, me I Love watching athletes compete, and frankly, I think watching HUMBLED aging athletes giving it one last shot is in many ways much more interesting than watching college kids who really don’t have a clue yet…)

  19. Instead of Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock, Marshall Faulk, Deion, Irvin, Young, etc…the veteran combine will be hosted by Mike Mamula, Ryan Leaf, and Vernon Gholston.

  20. It is actually possible for players to continue to work hard and improve their skills over time even if not on an NFL roster.

    I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect each team to bring in every vet every 6-12 months or so to see if they improved enough to be worth a roster spot. So, why not not have a combine? I see no downside to it…

  21. And JaMarcus is the sideline reporter. As for Tebow, he wasn’t invited to it, instead Darron Thomas was, stupid move there.

  22. There’s definitely some names on that list that could get looks and contribute.

    Some are still young, and players break out from all over the place, every year.

    Look at Cameron Wake, Fred Jackson, Kurt Warner…and so many others. They came from nowhere to be damn good football players in the NFL.

    Carriker interests me as depth on the Bills d-line, so does Anderson…Momah is a 6-8, 240 lbs TE, he is certainly intriguing.

    I’ll definitely tune in, if for nothing else than to see how much 40 times have changed for someone like Felix Jones.

  23. If I wanted to see Crabtree dropping passes and getting beat on coverage, I could just put in the blu-ray of the 2013 NFC CG.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.