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.