The NFL Combine: A Story of Hot Moms and Self-Identifying as a Cat

Do you know what time of the year it is? That’s right. It’s NFL Combine season.

The Combine gives college football players the opportunity to prove how many repetitions they can do on the bench press, how fast they can run the 40-yard dash and how fast they can run the three-cone drill. These are just some of the highlighted events that the prospective NFL players get to prove their worth in.

I find the Combine to be a boring spectacle that is used as an attempt at a standardized athletic test. Do you know what I prefer as a means of evaluating would be NFL talent? Actual football games.

My preference is to watch the Joey Bosas and the Reggie Raglands of the world prove their worth on the football field. All of a player’s strengths and weaknesses can be found on the field and are preserved in the countless hours of film that the players find themselves on. A large portion of that film is available to all of us bloggers and even more is available to NFL general managers.

So why is there a need for exercises like the three-cone drill? That’s easy. NFL general managers are essentially risk-averse gamblers.

I get it. Drafting college athletes and signing them to multi-million dollar, multi-year contracts is risky. But here’s the thing – there are no sure bets. There are no sure small bets or large bets. There are just bets.

Once a player has performed for their college team, and more often than not their Senior Bowl types of teams, a general manager should have all of the information they need to make a confident but not fool-proof assessment of whether a player fits their needs on the football field. But like I said, general managers are risk-averse gamblers and the old three-cone drill somehow acts as a safety blanket.

All of the hopeful NFL draft picks that participate in the Combine also take part in interviews. Look, none of us actually like interviews. Whether you’re applying to be a fry cook or the 15th Vice President of your local bank, interviews suck. And you know why they suck? They suck because more often than not we’re asked some ridiculous question that has little to do with the job we desperately want to be hired for. If you’re like most of us, and not a football player, you’ve probably been asked some version of this question – How many golf balls fit in a school bus?

Here are some of the more memorable questions asked at the 2016 Combine:

Spare me the psycho-babble when I ask my follow up question: Why do these questions or questions like them mean anything?

That’s right, they don’t mean anything. And if you think they do, well, remember what I said – Spare me the pyscho-babble.

My favorite response to questions of these sorts was from Cam Newton. Here is what Newton was asked:

Essentially, did he see himself more as a person who drinks milk out of a saucer and arches his back when touched? Or did he look at himself as someone who lets his tongue hang out and drools all over the place and chases after a frisbee?

Newton answered this question the way that I would want to and that was by telling the psychologist that it wasn’t a relevant question because he was a human being. Well done Cam. That answer deserves a retro-active dab.

While I am clearly impressed with how Newton chose to handle the question, the psychologist was less than impressed and used Newton’s answer to diagnose him as a person that has issues with authority.

Maybe Newton has issues with authority and maybe he doesn’t, but the reality of the situation is that it didn’t matter how he answered this question or how any of the players answer questions such as this. The person asking the question will always find a problem with the answer.

So I don’t care how fast a player runs around three cones, I don’t care if a player finds his mom attractive and I don’t care if a player is able to self-identify as a cat. What I do care about is how well a player performs in actual games.

And one more thing. Don’t even get me started on the Wonderlic.

E-mail Seth at or follow him on Twitter @SMerenbloom.

*Featured image courtesy of