So I made it a point to watch some of the Combine on the NFL Network this past weekend, just to kind of get a feel for what it was about and if it was worth this hardcore football fan's time. The Combine, which began last Thursday and wraps up today in Indianapolis, is a great opportunity for coaches, scouts and GMs to evaluate talent. And it's programming the NFL Network can put on a few weeks after the Super Bowl, when most football fans are following basketball, hockey, NASCAR or, I don't know, The Weather Channel.
Anyway, I turned it on with an open mind, just in time for Rich Eisen to ask his fellow commentators such as Brian Billick what you do with film from the Combine. He really asked Billick, "What do you do with this? It's like your wedding video, isn't it?" The answer is you go back and you analyze each player's skills against your draft needs. Which means you watch it a few more times than your wedding video.
But I was pleasantly surprised that not fifteen minutes in, Jerry Reese appeared for an interview. I struck gold! Reese told Eisen and company that he uses the Combine to confirm things the scouts saw watching these players in the fall. He also showed his support again for coach Tom Coughlin and joked that last year at 10-6 and not making the playoffs, he looked dumb by keeping Coughlin. But after going 9-7 and winning it all, he looks smart for keeping TC and for not making a huge splash player-wise in the offseason. Reese went on to talk about how it's okay to draft at number 32, because you can wind up with players like Mario Manningham in the third round as the Giants did the year after winning it all four years ago.
Unfortunately, it went downhill from the Reese interview. I watched very large men--some O-linemen and then some tight ends--sprint, run sideways and backwards, jump high, jump far, and bench press a lot of weight. And this interested me, um, not at all.
So yeah, watching the Combine is like watching paint dry--maybe not quite as bad, but let's just say you have to love football more than you love anything else to get a charge out of it. Or you have to be an aspiring coach. Or you have to be someone that wants to escape his honey-do list for a few hours, and try to kill one afternoon out of hundreds to go until we have real football again.