Changes coming to Scouting Combine, including big fan presence, music during workouts
The Scouting Combine last week averted a boycott, agreeing to loosen COVID-19 restrictions. While not every prospect is working out in Indianapolis -- as usual -- those who do will have a different combine experience than those before them.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin will not approve.
Players will work out to music at Lucas Oil Stadium, Michael Marot of the Associated Press reports. A D.J. will blare music during warmups before toning it down for the workouts.
Many NFL teams have music at their practices, but Tomlin last season rejected Chase Claypool’s public request for tunes at the Steelers’ workouts.
Prospects also will perform before fans, who will see results posted on video boards at the stadium. The league will make 10,000 tickets available for the lower bowl for the first time, and they will encourage fans to cheer.
“We want to make it a bit more of a fan-friendly environment,” NFL event contact and presentation coordinator Katie Conklin told the Associated Press. “The most important thing is keeping the integrity of the combine for the players and scouts, and we want to make it more exciting for the fans.”
The league averaged 7,800 fans over four days in 2019 and 2020 before the pandemic kept the Scouting Combine from happening last year.
Indianapolis has hosted the event since 1987 and will again this week but perhaps for the final time. Dallas-Fort Worth, Indianapolis and Los Angeles are bidding to host the 2023 and 2024 events. Final bids are due in early April, and Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting, which runs the combine, anticipates an announcement in late May.
“I think the owners of clubs would love to bring a tent-pole event to their town from a fan standpoint, from an economic standpoint,” Foster said. “When they moved the draft to different cities and it took off, I think that’s what sparked the interest, and that’s why we started looking at it.”