Friday, February 22, 2013
On the NFL's hope to change up offseason
By Mike Sando
The question becomes inevitable each February for those covering or working for the NFL.
"So, what do you do during the offseason?"
It's a reasonable question from those whose NFL experience consists of a few hours each Sunday from September through the Super Bowl in early February.
Of course, the NFL scouting combine begins two weeks after the Super Bowl. Free agency begins a couple of weeks after that. The draft follows five or six weeks later. From there, minicamps bridge most of the gap until training camps open in late July and early August.
There really isn't much of an offseason. Some offseasons feel busier and more compelling than the seasons themselves.
In that context, I see no downside to the NFL seeking a more evenly paced and structured offseason featuring the combine in March, free agency in April and the draft in May. The time between the Super Bowl and combine would expand, but the NFL would promote regional combines in the interim.
"Under the proposal, all NFL teams also would kick off training camp on the same summer day, making it the official launch of the football season," ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. "The idea is to lengthen the NFL offseason and make sure football is relevant during a longer offseason period with one big event in each month."
The league thinks a more structured offseason would allow for greater promotion of each event and greater profits. NFL players would have to sign off on the changes. Moving back the start of free agency could affect the window for players to maximize their value.
"We haven't seen any kind of proposal," George Atallah of the NFL Players Association said via Twitter. "If I had a nickel to react to every idea that was hatched at combine, well ..."