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Inside the origins of the NFL Combine

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Charley Casserly discusses the origin and significance of the NFL Scouting Combine:

With the 2016 season officially in the books following Super Bowl LI, the full attention of football fans now turns to the NFL offseason.


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The first marquee event on the calendar is the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, which runs February 28 – March 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The invite-only event is a week-long showcase allowing more than 300 prospects the opportunity to impress NFL general managers, head coaches and scouts through a series of physical and mental tests.

Appearing Wednesday on NFL Network's Good Morning Football, Super Bowl XXVI-winning GM Charley Casserly discussed the evolution of the combine as a way to administer physicals to the flagship event it's since become.

"The combine was started in the early 80's as an official way to get physicals," Casserly explained. "Before that, teams would bring in 30 or 40 players on their own as a big expense. That's what all the teams did in the league. You would draft players you never had a physical on. That's mind-boggling. But that's what it was in the late 70's."

It wasn't long before the combine as it is today would start taking shape.

"There were three combines, so players would go to three combines." Casserly said. "We got them there and you know what, we have them, let's work them out. Let's time them. So we've evolved into a physical first, then workouts, then interviews and then psychological testing. Then, how about television?"

With the launch of the NFL Network, the combine made its way to the small screen in 2004 and into the homes of football fans nationwide. Coverage and fan access to the combine has only increased in the thirteen years since.

Casserly also cleared up misconceptions about what the event actually means to NFL scouts.

"I get sick and tired of hearing people say he has to have a great combine, or he blew it at the combine," Casserly argued. "The reality is this, and this is what teams will tell you – 90 percent is what you do on tape and how you play the game. The combine still comes down to getting a physical, which is the most important thing because it's the only way to get it done, and the 40-yard dash and the time."

NFL.com names the top 50 prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft.

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