Two Indiana Combines Keep Football Dreams Alive

Between National Scouting Combine and NFL Combine, Indiana is spot for athletes to get noticed

Posted On :  By : Matt Traub (Read full article here)

The NFL season may be over but football never really is and this month in Indianapolis is a prime example.

Two combines, one that is known around the country but one that may not be, will be held in Midwestern destinations that run the gamut of prospects. From those who are guaranteed to be drafted to those who are hoping for one chance to realize a dream before it may be dimmed for good, the next few weeks will prove consequential for the future.

One Last Shot in Westfield

The NFL Scouting Combine is famously held in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. But February 18 starts the National Scouting Combine, in its 13th year and fifth at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana. The event will invite more than 130 athletes for skills testing, capped by a full NFL-regulation game.

“These are not just football players; these are Olympic sport athletes as well”

“Just like any event that we have, we want to be great hosts, we want to show off Hamilton County and show off our great facilities and venues,” said Carl Daniels, director of the Hamilton County Sports Authority. “(This event) helps us with brand awareness, connecting with a group like the NSC allows us to showcase our community.”

Grand Park’s hosting of the combine has grown over the past five years and “we love coming to Grand Park,” said Jimmy Kibble, who runs the NSC. “I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve not seen a facility as good as that. As far as I’m concerned, Grand Park is second to none.”

For the Sports Authority, its main role is helping support the logistics of the event.

“Like any other event, you have to get people here,” Daniels said. “We get them from the airport to Grand Park and to the hotels that are on the campus or within a mile of the campus. You’ve got to get them fed, you have to get officials here, you have to get coaches here and all the people helping you run your combine testing, you have to get equipment to Grand Park for testing … then you’ve got to tear it all down and get it all back home at the end.”

The differentiator for the National Scouting Combine is its testing algorithm, which takes all of the athlete’s movement metrics and gives them a mathematical score. Former NSC participants have made it in the NFL, Canadian Football League, pro rugby and even on pit crews in NASCAR.

“These are not just football players; these are Olympic sport athletes as well,” Daniels said. “It’s for guys who are not ready to give up the dream. They’re still chasing the dream of being a professional on some level and in some cases they come out here to give it one more shot. … It’s an opportunity for a guy to take one last shot at getting into the professional side of sports.”