Combine harvested

A football player working out.

Years ago, in another life, when I was a TV sportscaster, one of the worst times of the year was the week of the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Sports guys from all the stations in town would be stuck standing around the lobby of the hotel across the street from the RCA Dome, hoping to get video of large men in NFL t-shirts walking through. We’d try desperately to tell one obscure offensive lineman from another in hopes we could get an interview about what a meat market it all was and yadda yadda yadda. I don’t recall ever getting an interview with a big-name quarterback or anything, though it wasn’t for lack of waiting or asking.

We asked if we could shoot even a couple of minutes of the workouts inside the dome. Oh, of course not. Highly secretive. We couldn’t let you guys do that. God forbid. So, we all had the most boring 45 seconds you could possibly imagine on the evening news for a few days every February.

Fast-forward almost two decades later, and the NFL Combine makes up a good part of the NFL Network’s post-Super Bowl, pre-draft programming. You can watch the guys doing sprints, catching passes, demonstrating their vertical leaps…all the stuff we wanted to show back then, because even that was better than the crap we wasted hours collecting and putting on the air.

So my questions are these: What the hell were these prospects doing then that was such a big goddamn secret, and what are they doing now that’s so exciting that NFLN has to cover it wall-to-wall?

Kenn Tomasch

Kenn Tomasch

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