So I got an e-mail today (email@example.com) asking me if I was going to watch the NFL scouting combine live (which starts tomorrow) and report back as I have done the last couple of years. The answer to that is; no, f**k no, and "are you f**king insane?".
Anyone that thinks I'm going to subject myself to that horsesh*t again is betting on a guaranteed loss. The NFL Networks coverage of the combine is brutally frustrating. If you've never tried it then I highly recommend it, if only because it will convince you that the idea of the NFL Network ever being allowed to cover all the leagues games in future is an absolute disaster waiting to happen.
The coverage looks like its being directed by a five year old. They continually cut away from the field drills, which are kind of the most important part of any scouting trip, in order to show us two idiots sitting at a table on commentary somewhere, just because some other idiot who has been repeatedly fired from various GM jobs due to sh*t drafting has now joined them.
Then we have the joy that is the interrupting of the field drill coverage to show a graphic of some question asked by Billy McDouchebag on twitter or some sh*t, usually the kind of question that most normal people could figure out for themselves. Quite why the NFLN feels the need to linger on this graphic or even show it all instead of just having one of the commentary team read it out is beyond me.
Then comes the unadulterated joy of a player who you are very much interested in getting stuck behind one of the big names on the order for running the drills. What follows is that Mr.Big Shot will run the drill, and then you miss the next player on the list because the NFLN is busy showing replays of the big shot which could have been saved till later, for example during the break in between drills.
Of course any sane individual would see the opportunity to run commercials and show replays in such breaks of the on field action, as that is when the staff are setting up the next drill and the lead coach is explaining the drill to the players. That of course would require a modicum of common sense, something that the NFLN team lacks completely.
Finally we get to the ever hilarious moments when the director doesn't know which camera angle to use to best catch the action, instead flicking between them in a semi-random order until the final two or three players are up, by which point he finally has the sequence figured out. Any normal production crew would naturally have thought about this before hand and planned out where they needed to place all the cameras and done a few practice runs so they could figure out when and where to switch cameras to get the best shots, but the NFLN don't let silly things like standard TV production protocols get in the way.
All in all it's a TV experience akin to stabbing yourself in the hand repeatedly with a pen in order to induce the maximum possible distraction at the most important moments.
So it is that this year I plan to spend the day studying the college players in their more natural surroundings, that is watching their college games. I'm going to steal the list of players off the NFL.com site for each day and then spend it pouring through the video of football players actually playing football.
Perhaps if more pro scouts and top draft pundits had done this last year then people wouldn't have whiffed so badly on their assessments of Blaine Gabbert, who spent most of his college career quite visibly shying away from three man rushes and throwing nothing complete past 10 yards.
I'll report back my initial findings each day, though I concede it's only going to be a sort of "first impressions" look.