Over the years, it’s become apparent that there are no traditions the NFL won’t break if commissioner Roger Goodell considers a change good for the league.
Much to the chagrin of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, that includes changing the location of the NFL combine.
“The commissioner knows I don’t agree. I believe this is inappropriate to be taking it away from Indianapolis,” Irsay told staff writer Zak Keefer of The Athletic. “It’s disappointing because there [are] traditions upheld, and this has been a tradition that’s been around for 35 years, and in our market, it means a lot.
“It’s a big deal.”
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2023 NFL Combine Could be in Indianapolis, Dallas or Los Angeles
Mickey Shuey of the Indianapolis Business Journal first reported on June 23 last year that a change in the NFL combine location could be coming after 2022. The league planned to accept bids for the event starting in 2023.
NFL Insider Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported on Oct. 26 that Indianapolis, Dallas and Los Angeles were the three cities who submitted bids to host the combine in 2023.
The NFL combine has been in Indianapolis since 1987. Content writer Chase Goodbread of NFL.com cited its central geographic location as its biggest appeal for both NFL front office members and prospects. The fact Lucas Oil Stadium is an indoor facility also makes Indianapolis an attractive destination for the late February, early March workout.
Senior writer Lindsay Jones of The Athletic tweeted on March 29 that she expects Indianapolis to win the 2023 bid over Dallas and Los Angeles.
But it’s pretty clear that at some point in the near future, the NFL combine will be leaving Indianapolis for another city.
Irsay ‘Unofficial Commitment’ to bring NFL Combine to Indianapolis Every Three Years
Changing tradition around the NFL Draft is nothing new for commissioner Roger Goodell. The league hosted the NFL Draft in New York City for 49 years starting in 1965.
Radio City Music Hall in New York practically became synonymous with the NFL Draft.
But in 2015, the league broke tradition and moved the draft to Chicago for the first time since 1964. Then in 2017, Philadelphia hosted its first NFL Draft since 1961.
Dallas and Cleveland have hosted the last two in-person drafts (the 2020 NFL Draft was done virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic). Las Vegas and Kansas City are set to be the locations of the next two drafts in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
But Irsay still isn’t convinced the NFL combine should change locations every year like the NFL Draft.
“People love coming to us, and to take it away, particularly with what the city and state committed to help us build that stadium, it’s not right,” said Irsay.
“I’ve been talking to the commissioner and fighting very hard behind the scenes. I have a sort of unofficial commitment to get it once every three years. We hope to do better than that.”
J.L. Kirven of The Indianapolis Star reported the NFL plans to accept bids for the combine each year from 2023-28.