Combine changes will reduce teams’ meeting time with players

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The NFL is turning the Scouting Combine into a prime-time television event, and that’s going to change the way its member clubs experience the event from the inside.

According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, teams were recently informed about changes to their schedules based on broadcast demands.

Instead of the 60 formal 15-minute interviews teams have traditionally been able to conduct with prospects in Indianapolis, they’ll now be limited to 45 18-minute interviews.

Traditionally, on-field workouts have taken place in the morning and early afternoon, with evenings occupied by teams holding those brief getting-to-know-you sessions with players. But with the league moving the workouts later in the day to put them in front of more eyeballs, it cuts into interview time.

That might seem like a small change, and an extra 180 seconds probably won’t be enough for teams to delve that much deeper into individual players.

It will also require teams to do more of that legwork at the Senior Bowl and pro days throughout the spring, in addition to the 30 in-house visits they can bring players in for prior to the draft.

Some of the old football types will doubtless grumble about it, until their bosses remind them that selling the football product via television keeps them stocked with stopwatches and clipboards (and paychecks) for the coming year.

10 responses to “Combine changes will reduce teams’ meeting time with players

  1. Still have players that make accusations about being asked inappropriate questions…and not remembering what team asked them.

  2. The combine is indispensable for teams. The in depth medical exams are extremely important for both team and player. Players have discovered they had a medical condition (like cancer) they had no idea they had. And the interviews can reshape a teams entire draft board. A lot of “i’s” get dotted and “t’s”get crossed during the interview portion.

    But the on the field drills are more or less pointless. Other than “can a guy follow basic directions” that part is more or less promoting players for the fans at home. It’s smart by the NFL. It’s adult toy browsing. “My team needs a safety…I want that one!” That’s the most important part of the drill session. Building the hype and educating the audience sho they can enjoy draft coverage. This show is a promotion of another show you’ll see in a few months. Smart marketing. No other pro sport does it.

  3. I love everything about draft season, but even I barely watch the combine workouts. You can only watch so many guys run in a straight line or jump before your eyes glaze over. I don’t see this getting big primetime ratings.

  4. I don’t see why they would have to reduce anything. Seems like it’d be very simple to add a bit of time to keep the interviews. You know these guys aren’t stepping out of an Uber from the airport right as they’re scheduled to workout so why not do the interviews like the night before? Or the next day before guys fly home?

  5. If the workouts are moved later, why can’t the interviews be moved earlier, into the slots vacated by the workouts? This doesn’t seem like too hard a math problem for a billion dollar enterprise to answer.

  6. That’s not going to change some of these teams from asking stupid questions! Like what’s your favorite color? And are you gay?

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