The 2017 NFL Combine began in earnest this week, meaning it's time once again for the nation's football fans to watch roughly 20 minutes of 40-yard dash footage and zone out on the couch until the cable box asks if you're still there.
It doesn't have to be this way. We have the technology. We can make it better.
With this in mind, I've taken it upon myself to expand upon the NFL Combine's slate of events with some new ideas for broadening and mixing up the curriculum to make the combine more entertaining and provide a rounder picture of who these prospective athletes really are.
And it starts with securing the goods.
Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribuAP
Full-coverage skin suit entry challenge
Not really a timed event or challenge, but we don't need any loose garbanzos on the turf this year.
Set up a smoky arena, load it with cameras and broadcast the ensuing firefights. This is not football, but you learn everything you need to know about a person man by how they conduct themselves in a loosely officiated and low-visibility environment.
The Catch Rule Challenge
Prospective draftees are brought one at a time into a closed booth to watch footage of an ambiguous football catch. They have 60 seconds to observe the play and decide whether or not it is a catch.
This is a trick question designed to test players' ability to think outside the review box, and while there is no "right" answer, the most correct response is for players to stand up, say "the system is broken" and leave the booth.
Al PereiraGetty Images for New York Jets
40-yard car pull
Combinees get a chance to show off their explosiveness and Woodhead-ian low-end torque by pulling a car 40 yards across the gridiron.
Participants would get to choose from a selection of vehicles ranging in weight from a burnt out Tercel to a fully-loaded, king cab Toyota Tundra that someone's dad paid for.
Now, a lot of the lottery level prospects would probably skip this one. But it could be a nice showcase for the guys from from mid-majors who don't have the most blistering 40-times but are built like a storm front of thunder thighs.
And we haven’t even begun to talk about the ad space the cars would provide. That alone is virtue enough for the NFL to make this NFL Combine canon in the league's eyes.
This content is subject to copyright.AFP/Getty Images
This will be a class. These kids can’t go into the NFL making millions of dollars with poor spatula form and a C.V. of half-flipped ham-and-cheese nightmares on their resume.
This content is subject to copyright.De Agostini/Getty Images
Arm Wrestling Tournament
Installing an arm wrestling tourney in the NFL combine isn’t as much about providing teams with relevant, applicable data as much as it is about cutting the foreplay and giving God-fearing, sweatpanted Americans what they really want: a no-holds-barred brute-force man-off between Johnny Blue Chip and the salt-of-the-earth Carson Wentz types of the draft.
It would be frivolous and fun, and the Browns would inevitably base their draft picks solely on its results.
Timed Personal Tax Filing Challenge
They need to know this stuff.
This image is subject to copyright.Moment Editorial/Getty Images
Slam Dunk Contest
A position player dunk competition is a natural fit on multiple fronts for the NFL Combine.
For starters, setting up a hoop and letting 6’8" tight ends punish the cup is what NFL fans crave most at the end of the day but will never admit to. Football fans are just NBA fans with a flair for day-drinking and spacing out moments of joy like a structured settlement.
Secondly, a dunk competition would provide value to all types. For the next Antonio Gates, it's a chance to boost their draft stock and go viral.
For the next Tom Brady, it's an opportunity to get hung by the rim and be photographed embarrassing himself publicly, which will come in handy 10 years down the road when his social media team needs to a launch a dedicated humanization campaign of #ThrowbackThursday posts.
Getty ImagesGetty Images
Dad Strength Threshold Testing
It’s time for the NFL to take a step forward and embrace the cutting edge of sports medicine in the form of DST (Dad Strength Threshold) testing.
Dad Strength is the reserve of power certain males retain long after their testosterone begins to flag and their vertical leap reduces to ash. This reserve strength can be just as useful in athletics as it is one-handing strollers and pallets of water.
In years past, NFL scouts could only look at a player's jawline and the parabola of his male-pattern balding to get an idea of their potential for long-term, durable dad-strength.
Now, all it takes is a few DNA swabs for scientists to tell exactly how strong an athlete will be at age 38 and what brand of German beers he’ll consume while changing your oil filter without complaint.
We know they can play football, but are they worth having in society?
Social Media Agility Course
Measures combine prospects’ agility, reflexes and problematic tendencies by presenting them with an alternating mix of good and bad tweets to ignore, favorite and meme as the situation warrants.
"Tall Tales of the Concealed House of Worship" Challenge
An original and entirely unique series of challenges that involves separating draft prospects into teams and seeing which group has the wits and agility to conquer a jungle obstacle course and lead the Blue Barracudas to victory.
Water Tobacco Pipe Challenge
A grueling trial of will and mental acuity that tests whether combine participants can walk into a head shop and peruse the wares without saying “bong” and making it weird.
Dodgeball is good, as is Brendan Fraser playing it.
This content is subject to copyright.WireImage
The NFL and other leagues have begun hammering home to high schoolers the impossibly slim prospects most people have of becoming a professional athlete, so a fitting end to the NFL Combine would be to hold an event that reminds prospects that there are other roads to explore if this if this professional person-tackling thing doesn’t work out.
Scarf-juggling is honest, government work, and far easier on the meniscus.