There’s no real easy way to do this, so I’m just gonna come right out and say it – if you like the NFL combine, then I don’t like you as a person.
I know what you’re thinking – what the hell is he talking about? There’s no one on this planet who lives and breathes football more than me, so how can I be so hypocritical and pass judgment on anyone else who does the same? The answer is simple. What’s on TV right now is not football. It’s a bunch of dudes in their underwear lifting weights, running drills and getting poked and prodded by talent evaluators. That’s a borderline softcore gay porn (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
The idea of the NFL Network is one of the greatest creations in cable television history. I mean, everyone likes football, so having a dedicated channel to always flip to regardless of the time of day or year is a brilliant concept. The only problem is, there really isn’t enough programming to make it compelling TV around the clock, so once football season ends no one watches anymore. Everyone forgets about the NFL Network and goes back to watching shitty reality TV. (Quick sidenote: I started this column out by saying if you watch the combine, then I don’t like you as a person. Well, if you watch a show featuring Andy Dick in rehab I hope you die of gonorrhea.)
Sorry about that. Where were we? Oh yeah, no one watches the NFL Network until the “Bang Brothers” film crew starts airing highlights of draft-eligible prospects blowing away the competition in their individual workouts. Seriously, how is this show not hosted by the Queer Eye guys?
People are so starved for anything football related, so things quickly spirals out of control. Suddenly people care that Terrapin receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey ran the fastest 40-yard dash even though no one outside of the state of Maryland could identify him if they were standing next to him at the local Waffle House. So what if he rarely impacting a game (he finished his college career with just 13 touchdowns in 38 games) – the guy can run in a straight line really, really fast. And that’s got to count for something.
I don’t have anything personal against Heyward-Bey, he could very well turn out to be a solid NFL player, I just think that the morons running most NFL franchises put entirely too much stock into the combine and forget to consider how players like Heyward-Bey perform while … you know … actually playing football. So unless an All-Pro defensive back jams him at the starting line when he tries to run his 40-yard dash, then Heyward-Bey’s times should be taken with a grain of salt.
Everyone’s seen the YouTube video of Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson hurdling 66 inches during one of his legendary workouts. But the reason he’s memorable is because he’s a game-changing defender. Those freak of nature abilities actually translate to Wilson’s on-the-field play, but that’s not the case for everyone. If journeyman defensive back Ade Jimoh was jumping 66 inches no one would care because he can’t play football. Keep this stuff in perspective people.
Do you really care how many times [insert name of player here] can benchpress [insert amount of weight here]? No, you don’t. Because that information will never be spoken of again. Seriously, at no point during a football broadcast do you hear Troy Aikman say, “Well, L.J. Smith completely ran the wrong route there and now the Eagles will be forced to punt, but you know what – that guy can benchpress for days?” None of that shit matters to anyone outside of John Madden. And honestly, now that Brett Favre is retired again, here’s hoping Madden is too brokenhearted to find a new mancrush and just goes back to being the videogame Madden we all know and love.
So do yourself a favor a bypass the NFL combine all together. Let guys like Mel Kiper breakdown footage of men in their undies … you’re better than that. Watch hockey or basketball or Tiger Woods for god’s sake. The greatest golfer of our lifetime is back and that’s way more important than watching offensive linemen dry heave after attempting to “sprint” 40 whole yards. If you really can’t keep yourself away from the combine, you’re no better than Andy Dick. He may be a flaming douchebag, but at least he knows he needs help. Consider this your gay porn intervention.
Brian Murphy is an award-winning sportswriter who also goes by the name Homer McFanboy. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.