Saturday, March 2, 2013

The NFL Combine in an Amateur's Eyes

This year's NFL Combine has come and passed, but I was really sick this week. Do you want me to sneeze on you? I thought so. Just let me complete my thoughts, you people.

Bench Pressing.
Obstacle Coursing.

These are the harrowing experiences that young college grads have to course through in what is called the NFL Combine. For starters, this is usually the "big time," where you show-off to scouts and various business agents so you could be brought into consideration for drafting and/or other business deals. For a couple of days, various college football players will undergo tasks and feats of strength to catch the attention of professional teams. An event like this is one of a kind here in the States, and truthfully, many football fans see this as an event in itself.

Because I never cared about the NFL Combine until now, these were the first things that came to mind before I did research and wrote about this post.

(click for the epitome of 80's action movies in less than eight minutes)

I'm serious. Something like this just seems boring to me. Why? Because here's the thing...shouldn't their game play make all of the difference here? There are probably some guys out there that really know how to work out and get in shape, but they probably absolutely suck when it comes to playing football at a higher level. Again, this could just be me because I don't have as much testosterone raging through my body since I'm a woman, but this just seems like a blip on the map that I wouldn't want to touch.

Enough of my thoughts about the Combine being boring. Here is some other commentary...

While reading about the Combine, I had completely forgotten that there are regional combines that happen around the country. There is even a female kicker named Lauren Silberman who will be looking to try out and get her start somehow. The regional combines only started a few years ago, but they've given careers to guys like St. Louis Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein. They're honestly like open tryouts, but much tougher and more sharply-cut than most "auditions" of sorts.

There is one little thing that interests me about the whole idea of the Combine. It sort of reminds me of a tryout for American Gladiators. In a way, this is more of a test of an athlete's work ethic and his drive to want to play professionally. You could be totally jacked at 6'3" and 250 pounds and can sprint like a madman, but is your heart in it? Are you passionate about what you do? If you aren't, then you might not fit the part of a teammate for someone's squad. I'd say it's a pretty nice deal-breaker to test these guys out to see if they're all talk or if they truly mean business. For those that know me, you may know that I may be a sucker for talent, but to make it even more impressive in my eyes, you have to love what you do. Wouldn't you agree with that statement?

Since most team drills are very,, the Combine is used mostly for individual performance and endurance. It's especially beneficial for guys on the defensive and offensive lines since they're not always singled-out in practice or in film. However, like I said above, they could be really strong and really agile, but they won't be tackling dummies or hopping through tires out there. They might actually have to try to apply themselves. You can only train so hard for something like this. It's often best to train with actual human beings to prepare you for life. Some guys who do really well in the Combine can actually turn out to be a super bust in the NFL, so this event could be almost as challenging for the scouts and the teams as it is for the athletes trying out.

Because I'm an ultra-amateur at anything outside of NFL, I see something like this as an acting audition. Since I've been through numerous of those, I've been drawing comparisons to that. It might not be the best thing to compare it to, but that's just me. When you audition, you need to display your skill of voice, projection, and presentation all while proving that you're the best fit for a role and have the drive and determination to be your best. It's almost the same thing at the NFL Combine. You're good, you may know it, but will the scouts know it? They may have seen your performances on film and in team practice, but this is your time to prove your flexibility, your conditioning, and your drive on a larger scale.

While it's also an "audition," it's also a mini-competition between future draftees to fight for their reputation. I guess it can be as catty as an all-girls cheerleading squad too. While there is little room for hostility, it's still there, and you're looking to impress as best as possible and not let anyone beat you to the punch. My comparisons are making you shake your head, aren't they? Okay then. Moving on...

The NFL Combine isn't exactly my cup of tea, but if you can follow it and take it seriously for your dream draft picks, then I salute you. It seems like a really good way to weed out the determined players from ones that are just bulky and only look the part. I have a feeling that it's going to take me a while to warm up to it and see the other true meanings behind the combine. When it comes to athleticism, I could be rather nitpicky, so this could definitely take me a while to really look into what it takes to be an efficient football player.

Could I be considered a rookie now?