NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Already a must-watch event for diehard football fans, the NFL scouting combine could see changes that would make the yearly event more dynamic, engaging and fan-friendly.
Eric Grubman, the league’s executive vice president of business ventures, sees an “American Idol” component eventually making its way to the combine.
“The combine won’t be maximized until we find a way to link it with the rest of the journey of these guys,” Grubman told NFL.com. “From a football operations standpoint, it’s very well-developed. But it’s an immature property, from a fan-access and fan-appeal standpoint.”
As it stands now, the NFL has 10 regional combines that lead into a super-regional. That’s in addition to the main combine in Indianapolis, which is staged for the top prospects coming out of college.
According to NFL.com, the league “has envisioned moving the regionals up on the calendar and perhaps moving Indianapolis back, so that the regionals and super-regional lead into the big show.”
The prize? Spots at the NFL’s main combine, or perhaps invitations to the the draft at Radio City.
The league c0uld also add a head-to-head element to certain events — hopefuls running the 40-yard dash or bench-pressing side-by-side, for example. The NFL “plans to test” some changes at the regional combines, NFL.com reported.
Not everyone is keen on the proposals.
“I hate the idea,” agent David Canter told NFL.com. “You’re not competing in the NFL by running a 40, and you’re not gonna be lining up next to a guy on the bench. What you will have is players overexerting themselves and injuring themselves. … It just creates too high of a risk without reason.”
One NFC general manager told the New York Post: “When you hear about some of these things, it’s like they forget that we’ve got a job to do at the combine and people are actually trying to work. … But our opinion stopped mattering a long time ago.”
The NFL is also “considering the idea of opening the upper deck up to fans,” according to NFL.com. The combine, sure to be a hot item this weekend on the NFL Network, officially kicked off Thursday.
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