What It's Like At The NFL Combine Fan Experience
The Power Sweep was on the road today!
Since I live near Bloomington, Indiana, I couldn’t not head up to Indianapolis and see what there was to see at the NFL Combine Fan Experience. Here’s what I learned.
The Fan Experience is at the Indiana Convention Center, about a block and a half away from Lucas Oil Stadium, where the actual combine takes place. There’s a lot to see on the convention center floor.
The first thing you notice are the large mannequins dressed in the uniforms of all 32 teams. Each is wearing number 17, and if you so desire, you can take your picture as one of the players. I did not so desire.
Since the Combine is all about physical testing, the NFL gave fans the opportunity to do a little physical testing of their own, including the chance to race against the times of NFL players in the 40-yard dash.
One event of actual NFL importance did take place at the convention center while I was there. Since the Vikings and Colts finished the season with the same record, the league mandated they flip a coin to determine the number 14 and 15 draft picks.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and Colts general manager Chris Ballard were on hand, and as a fan of the Packers, it was especially satisfying to see the Vikings win the flip and have to pay an even higher price for Sam Bradford.
Rick Spielman made the same joke about wanting to defer if he won the coin toss about five times. It wasn’t funny any of the five times.
For the first time, fans were allowed to watch players perform the bench press, but there were no sessions scheduled for the time I was in the convention center. Even if there were, though, I would not have been able to show you any pictures. The NFL made sure of that.
The press conferences for players, coaches, and executives also happened in the convention center. Since they don’t like human contact, all the reporters huddled at the far end of their area away from the prying eyes of the public.
There were several interesting exhibits scattered throughout the convention center, including this one featuring every Super Bowl ring.
I’ve often heard the rings for Super Bowls I and II described as small, but I think they look just fine.
Elsewhere in the convention center, a simulated football field was set up for kids to get some coaching, and there I found my single favorite thing from the Fan Experience: a robot tackling dummy.
Kids also had the chance to catch passes and run through a few other drills at the Fan Experience.
If you’re a fan of the draft process generally and the Combine specifically, the Fan Experience is probably worthwhile, especially if you have kids.
It’s free, and if the NFL decides to bring the Fan Experience back next year, it would probably be worth a trip to check it out, if only to kill a couple hours on a weekday afternoon.