• phil cantor/@osgphil

NFL Scouting Combine Week is Truly the Theater of the Absurd


Look at his hands

This week brings us an event that always kind of makes me laugh for multiple reasons; the biggest being how much it is hyped.


The NFL Scouting Combine runs this last week of February and the week will bring those of us who watch sports shows or monitor Sports Twitter breathless commentary about the physical attributes of the 300 or so potential NFL Draftees in attendance.


Hand size, vertical jump, body mass and 40-yard dash times will be reported on as the "True" indicator of a football players success in the NFL.


It isn't....


Monday night, I got push alerts and headlines blaring that this years #1 pick, Joe Burrow had 9-inch hand size according to those measuring such things. In the NFL, there's an unwritten rule that anything less than 9 1/2 inch hands are too small. Why? I have no idea, but the theory is smaller hands make one more likely to fumble or drop the football.


We should all laugh and make jokes about it, but there are a certain percentage of scouts, coaches and reporters who believe it matters.


Joe Burrow....not so much:


No, I'm not sure why the idea of a 9-inch hand or a 9 1/4 inch hand really and truly matters if you can play football. Slowly this old wives tale is being proven wrong by guys like Super Bowl Champ Patrick Mahomes and others.


Mahomes would be the 9 1/4 inch hand size person I referenced in the previous paragraph.


Later in the week comes the other laughable (to me) event---the 40-yard dash. It's an event where a one tenth of a second can potentially cost an athlete at least one round of draft position.


Yes, really.


Let's say you are an offensive lineman at 6-5, 300 pounds and you run a 5.15 second 40, which by most modern standards is incredibly fast for such a large human being. The problem is, most of the other people in your group were timed at 5.05 or less. You may have been an All-American and won multiple awards, but at the Combine, your draft status has suddenly sunk because your contemporaries were slightly.....very, slightly quicker to run 40-yards in a straight line without pads from a sprinters start. It's something that NEVER...EVER would happen in an actual football game--yet is considered a huge determining factor of your NFL success.


Does that make any sense to you??


Still, I guess it is entertaining TV if you have nothing better to do with your time during Combine Week. The NFL is trying hard. Very hard, to keep themselves in the headlines year around. This along with the Draft are ways for them to accomplish the mission.


However--where the draft actually is compelling TV, the Combine is not. The Draft is the culmination of months of hype and at least 25 versions of Mel Kiper or some other experts "Mock Draft" list--most of which will be at least half wrong.


If you are really that desperate to watch football and miss the game so, so much---you do actually have an option this year.


Wait until the weekend comes and watch an XFL game. It's a lot more entertaining than watching guys do drills and physical measurement tests in a hermetically sealed Dome in Indianapolis......

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