JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

NFL Scouting Combine

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Just got off the phone with a radio friend who attended the NFL Scouting Combine. We both had the same reaction—what a pathetic, odd event.

In short: (With rare exception) A bunch of old, wealthy white men sit in the stands with stopwatches, clocking (with rare exception) a bunch of young, inexperienced black men. The bidding takes place in April, with the most money spent earning the most promising (with rare exception) black man. In my radio friend’s words, “It’s creepy.” I agree.

Whenever I watch ESPN or the NFL Network and see their so-called “Draft experts,” I think “I’d rather be a garbage man specifically in charge of used condom disposal than report on this shit.” Seriously. You’re Mel Kiper. You’re 50-years old. You have a family, a life, hopes and dreams. And your days are spent, quite literally, chasing around 20-year-old kids to find out what their future plans are. You pitch a tent if they text you, and an even larger tent if they call to say, “Hey, Mel, I’m going to Miami.” It’s a sad existence, one I wouldn’t wish on my worst journalistic enemy.

Furthermore, it’s stupid. The whole thing. Oooh! Someone can run a 4.4 40 without pads on a ruberized track sans wind. Big whoops. Wow! He can bench 500 pounds 26 times. Who cares?

Not me.

OK, rant over.