This past week from February 26-March 4, the NFL hosted one of their biggest events, the NFL Scouting Combine. The combine is where college athletes are invited to compete in a series of drills and tests to showcase their talents and strengths to NFL scouts and coaches. Over the course of this week, the eyes of NFL teams and fans are watching these young men work and train for their future. Aside from competing in drills, these athletes also take part in interviews with media.
From a public relations standpoint, the combine can often be the start of these athletes professional career. Even though many of these athletes partook in interviews during their time in college, at this professional level they begin engaging in interviews with teams and media. Many professional athletes are models for young kids and aspiring athletes. The combine allows them to not only showcase their talents, but also gain a new set of fans past college. Being able to create a professional brand starting at the combine allows for these athletes to create something more than just being a football player. For the NFL, the Scouting Combine and the Draft are two big events and play into the expansion of their league. Teams are trying to make good impressions on prospects and prospects on teams, which is important for creating a well respected brand and organization.
Ultimately, their times and reps during the combine are going to what makes them the most memorable, but those numbers are what gets NFL fans excited for the upcoming draft. For both the NFL as a whole and these young men in the combine, they are all creating something bigger for their brand. The NFL gets to use the combine and athletes as a way to create hype and excitement around the draft, which will creating a bigger brand for themselves.
On a lighter note, this leads to interesting stories that prospects are able to look back during their time at the combine. Barry Petchesky from Deadspin, wrote an article called “The NFL Combine Is The Super Bowl of Idiot Questions.” He touches on two specific instances from this year’s combine but also past combines. One that made multiple news platforms was Texas CB Kris Boyd being asked if he still had both of his testicles. And the Seattle Seahawks put CB Lonnie Johnson in a staring contest for 15-16 seconds. This is an example of how prospects can use these interviews to begin creating a name for themselves and start building their brand.
These are interesting questions and things to put prospects through, but from a brand perspective, it makes the brand memorable. Even if it’s in a negative way, like asking someone about how many testicles they have. The prospects that go through weird interviews are taken back, but at the end of the day will remember those weird interviews and the teams that put them through that.
All in all, the combine is a way for young athletes to become prospects and build their name and brand. While allowing the NFL to prepare the hype for the upcoming season.