People in my parents’ generation remember where they were when Kennedy got shot; I’ll remember where I was when Andre Smith first bared his bouncing man-titties during a pro-day workout….pause!
It’s hard to say exactly what makes the NFL Combine so compelling. For starters, with its creepy slave-auction vibe and armies of drooling, flesh-peddling scouts, it has an excessive, perverted side that the drafts of other sports lack. NFL scouts who crisscross the country in search of raw football talent aren’t looking for future stars with marketable faces and personalities the way NBA scouts do, and they’re not interested in wide-eyed high school kids with fairy-tale dreams of making the Show the way baseball scouts are. NFL scouts are looking for raw gladiatorial muscle whose sweat-drenched faces will be hidden under helmets as coaches drive them to be rapidly ground into hamburger over the course of what, for most of them, will be ridiculously short (three and a half seasons, on average), injury-plagued, nonguaranteed-contract careers.
This is about as dark and freaky as our sanitized modern American mainstream culture ever openly admits to being. These are bloodless corporate enterprises using advanced scientific and economic metrics to measure the material worth of human flesh down to the half-pound, the 16th of an inch. Which would be horrifying and morally repulsive under normal circumstances, but when added to a strong rooting interest in your home team, can become for certain people one of those guilty pleasures you just can’t give up because you enjoy it so much, like jerking off while hanging yourself in the shower.
Sports writers question whether these tests have any relationship with future NFL performance. Empirical research conducted by Brian D. Lyons, Brian J. Hoffman, John W. Michel, and Kevin J. Williams (2011) found that the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, 20-yard shuttle, and 3 cone drill tests have limited validity in predicting future NFL performance. In fact, the Lyons et al. (2011) study suggests that a prospect’s past performance in college is a better indicator of future NFL performance than the aforementioned physical ability tests. I know these teams are investing large sums of money into these players, but if the Combine has no proof that it works scientifically, why are they still doing it?
Athletes attend by invitation only. Implications of one’s performance during the combine can affect perception, draft status, salary and ultimately career. The draft has popularized the term “workout warrior,” whereby an athlete’s “draft stock” is increased based on superior measurable qualities such as size, speed, and strength, despite having an average or sub-par college career. The 2012 NFL Scouting Combine was February 22–28, 2012.
I wish I had video of an actual slave auction to post here and show the NFL Combine….the similarities are eerily close. They stuff these big burly men in a room as they get poked and prodded, walking around in nothing but biker shorts…pause. I know some will argue that these players are getting paid, so it’s not slavery, but if you ask anybody working for someone else, they feel they are getting worked like a slave regardless of how much their check actually amounts to…so I’m just saying.
Think about it. Happy Black History Month!
Thanks for tuning in……