Indianapolis Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson calls it “the ultimate job interview.”
The NFL Scouting Combine used to be a little-known, behind-the-scenes event used by NFL coaches, scouts and front office personnel to evaluate players before the April draft.
In recent years, the growing NFL fan base has become increasingly intrigued with the process teams use to fill their rosters.
There are those who decry the commercialization of the Combine, arguing that it should remain a working event for scouts and coaches, while others applaud opening up a process that so many fans and sponsors find interesting.
One thing is certain; the event brings a lot of publicity to the NFL, prospective players and the city of Indianapolis.
Once covered by a handful of reporters, the Combine, running Feb. 20-26 this year, will attract 800 credentialed media members to Indianapolis. Reporters will chronicle players’ every move and the numerous observations made by scouts and coaches.
It’s humorous to think that scads of skeptics once doubted the Scouting Combine would attract many television viewers. Last year, more than 6.5 million people watched, nearly double the 3.7 million who watched in 2007. League officials predict 7 million fans will watch this year.
A year after allowing fans to attend the NFL Scouting Combine in Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time in 2012, league officials are expanding access to the general public from one to two days.
Demand for tickets was so high last year that NFL officials are doubling the number this year—to 600.
Fans must apply for Combine tickets at 1iota.com, providing a short essay on why they are worthy of those sought-after tickets.
Fans who win get an up-close look at the Combine on Feb. 23 or 24.
Among the things fans can see live is the 40-yard dash for quarterbacks, wide receivers, offensive linemen and tight ends, and position skill drills.
Fans who get in also get to talk with former NFL players Marshall Faulk, Jevon Kearse and Fred Taylor and have an opportunity to win NFL-centric prizes.
The tickets are free, but cannot be sold and are not transferable.