Combine Hillarity

Submitted by Ziff72 on March 1st, 2010 at 2:50 PM

I'm always curious how the guys time reflects against their game speed and vice versa. Who had Blair White as the quickest guy at the combine?? He's leading the 20yd shuttle so far, but the thing that drives me nuts the most is this lack of accuarcy in the 40 time.

Yesterday they would run, then NFL network would give us a time and then they would get the official time and they were always off then they would show the stands and you have 50 assholes hitting their stopwatches trying to get an accurate gauge. With all the technology nowadays why don't they have a laser set up at the start and every 10 yds until the finish line. It starts when the laser is broken and finishes at the other end when he crosses. The second the race ends the results and all the interval times are posted on the jumbotron and move on. All these idiots could put their watches away and they could give them a little printout when they leave.

I know it's petty but it just drives me crazy every year.



March 1st, 2010 at 2:57 PM ^

Some scouts/coaches like to trust their own times instead of the electronically timed 40's. Who knows why? I guess it's just because that people timed 40's by hand before the advent of electronic timing, and people used to compare stopwatches with each other at the finish. I think there's an element of human error in the electronic timing as well, as the timer starts when when the runner chooses to start and not on a gun. This means that the person who starts the timer is also limited by his reaction time.


March 1st, 2010 at 3:01 PM ^

There are fast tracks and slow tracks (I can't remember which the Indy track is supposed to be) and agents hate electronically timed 40 times. If it's hand-timed, you can always find one yahoo who provides a VPI-esque time. "He ran it in under three seconds!!!" And if you stunk, you could always dismiss it claiming there's a 1/3 of a second difference between the REAL time and hand-timed runs.

They ought to put you in a football uniform with helmet and pads and have you run it ON a football field. Running on tracks in sprinter's clothes is pretty pointless.


March 1st, 2010 at 3:06 PM ^

they should run in full pads with helmets on....only problem with that is then you would have Brandon Graham with Olsenavages shoulder pads on with everybody trying to get as light as possible.


March 1st, 2010 at 4:25 PM ^

I think Indy is supposed to be a slow track. If you didn't have scout in the stands doing their own hand timing then there would be less jobs and the talking heads would also have less to talk about.


March 1st, 2010 at 5:46 PM ^

The whole point of these combine-type events is so they can be as standardized as possible. Not all tracks are identical, but they are all very similar. By comparison, if you ran it on a field, do you run it on grass or one of the few different kinds of artificial turf? If they wear shoulder pads, do you limit how small of pads they wear? Otherwise everyone will put on the smallest pads they can find, and the point of wearing them is virtually eliminated.

Coaches and GMs want to see raw speed in a 40. They know that they guy they drafted (or passed on) last year ran a 4.49, and they want to know how these 2 or 3 guys compare. If the tests aren't completely standardized, they wouldn't be able to do that as well.

Same reason they do the bench press. Do you ever lay on your back and push up during a football game? No, but it's an easily comparable measure of upper body strength, so they do it.


March 1st, 2010 at 3:40 PM ^

We host a couple 18 and under players every year for the USA baseball tournament where they downselect to the semi-finalists for the national team. It's a cool experience because they bring in the 64 top high school prospects in the country, and the college and MLB scouts cover the event.

I always kid around with the pitchers, and tell them they need a tinfoil cup, because they'll never have seen so many radar guns pointed at them in their life.

Bottom line is, nobody ever trusts anybody else to get it right, and each scout considers their readings to be competitive information (even though if you're the guy in the back row, you can read the display anyway).


March 1st, 2010 at 4:57 PM ^

The 40 is timed electronically. But the player's time starts as soon as they begin moving forward and is hand timed, which is why it is unofficial to begin with. Different players lead with different parts of their body. Most people who's time was adjusted seemed to be raising their left arm as they begin to shift their weight forward, others may stand-up more as they come out of their stance.

A laser at the beginning wouldn't be any more accurate than the hand timed start; #1 because of the different ways people begin their runs and #2 everybody sets up in their stance in different positions, plus all the different body types. You would really need an adjustable matrix of lasers which would need to be modified for each player before each run, that would be a pretty cumbersome process. I believe the combine officials go to a slow motion video tape to decide when exactly the player began their run, and that is where the time adjustments come from. Its probably the best option really


March 1st, 2010 at 5:39 PM ^

Does it really have to be an adjustable matrix? Couldn't you just have a single set of horizontal lasers (10 or so would do the trick...), line the person up so that they're as close as they can get without breaking the plane, and then start the timer as soon as one of the lasers registers an obstruction? Sure, you could then swing your arm up to the plane without time starting yet, but I think the advantage would be negligible.

Or you could just make them start at a gun like in any race. Test their reaction time as well I guess.


March 1st, 2010 at 6:52 PM ^

To get the same measurement as the official time the lasers would have to be adjusted to where the players sets himself. You wouldn't be able to just set a permanent vertical or horizontal 'laser curtain', the farther back the player is from the laser the faster their time would be, it wouldn't provide the same results. To get the same results you would need to place the lasers around their legs, arms, back and head to get that initial movement, wherever it occurs. It would have to work for the smallest RB and biggest lineman, so it would probably make more sense to have a dense matrix that covered the player's stance from front to back, instead of something to be adjusted. Can't really imagine making the player hold his stance while a couple people try to align a bunch of lasers around him.

About that time you have to wonder if a laser system would be a better solution than a slow-motion camera with an operator. I would still go with the camera system.


March 1st, 2010 at 5:43 PM ^

I think the solution is the winter Olympics solution. Put the little gate at the start. When they break the plane of the lever the time would start.

Scouts probably like the fact, they can give a fast time to guys they like and slow time to guys they don't.


March 1st, 2010 at 6:50 PM ^

There is no need for a laser at the beginning because they have a sensor under their hand for when the clock starts. There is not much difference on how each person starts no matter what position they play. If they have been taught correctly then they will start almost the same as everyone else.