It’s one of life’s guiltiest pleasures.
Beyond the wonders of chocolate, beer and greasy fried food lays a spectacle that momentarily fulfills the deepest desires of football fans everywhere.
It resides during a “dead period” before the frenzy of free agency, and a little more than a month before dreams are made and broken during the NFL draft.
Yes, I am talking about nothing other than the wondrous NFL Combine.
Besides providing a temporary fix to football starving fans, this exhibition of strength, speed and agility by our modern day gladiators is a complete waste of time.
It's a little pathetic when I really think about it. We sit around and examine grown men jump, bench press, run around cones and sprint in skin tight ‘Under Armor’ — all to see if they can play football.
We then compound our mistake by getting sucked into countless hours of “expert” analysis from guys like Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, both men who probably never played a down of football in their life.
Doesn’t really make much sense, does it?
But such is life in the NFL in 2012. Fans and scouts alike have become so enamored in dissecting a player’s measurables that we forget to make sure they can even play football.
Let me reopen a painful wound from only a few years ago. Linebacker Aaron Curry was a solid player, but relatively unknown coming into the combine out of Wake Forest.
That was until he absolutely lit up Indianapolis with his workouts.
His performance impressed analysts and scouts enough to vault himself into “no-brainer” top five selection, and the “safest” pick in the draft according to the all-knowing Kiper Jr.
Unfortunately the Seattle Seahawks were sucked into the combine-hype and selected Curry with the fourth overall pick in the 2009 draft.
After two and a half disappointing and mostly unproductive seasons in Seattle, the Seahawks traded Curry to the Oakland Raiders for a measly seventh-round pick.
A valuable lesson was learned that day — the one who falls in love with the workout warrior is destined to fail.
Like many others before them, Seattle was blinded by the hysteria generated from a spectacular combine performance, and based their selection solely on this body of work.
But for every team that makes this fatal mistake, there are those that do not drink the combine Kool-Aid.
In the 1985 draft, the San Francisco 49ers went against conventional wisdom and used the No. 16 pick of the draft on a wide receiver that ran a pathetic 4.6-second 40-yard-dash at the combine, according to SportsIllustrated.com.
Jerry Rice didn’t do much in the NFL besides become the all-time leader in pretty much every statistical category for a wide receiver, win three Super Bowls, go to 13 pro-bowls, and become a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Then there is also this other guy out of the University of Michigan in 2000. He embarrassed himself at the combine by running a 5.23-second 40-yard-dash and recording an atrocious 24.5 inches on his vertical jump.
Tom Brady ended up panning out quite well for the New England Patriots though by becoming an eight-time pro-bowler, a two-time NFL MVP and three-time Super Bowl champion.
These are only a few examples of how flawed the combine system is and how too much weight is placed upon performances.
We have gotten so wrapped up in the numbers that we have forgotten to check if it even translates to the gridiron.
There are years of evidence through game tape demonstrating whether or not a player can play football, yet it is all shoved aside so we can judge based upon a few workouts.
But at the end of the day I am only investing my time into the combine. I take solace in the fact I am not devoting millions of dollars to a player that flourishes during some non-football drills.
So with that said, I gotta sprint to my room, jump on my bed and lift my remote up, because quarterbacks are up next for the 40-yard dash.