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WHEEL ROUTES: The NFL Combine has outlived its fan usefulness

The Combine is fun because it's been almost a month since the Super Bowl and it looks like football. But Robert Wheel says it has outlived its usefulness to you, the fan. That, the latest on Tim Tebow and more in this week's WHEEL ROUTES.


Should You Watch The Combine?

The Combine is kind of like the Parade All-American Football list. Remember Parade Magazine? Every year they'd do a list of the top high school football players and everyone would make a big deal about it. Then Rival and Scout came along and started ranking EVERY major recruit and YouTube came along and we could see their highlight videos. Now Parade Magazine's All-American List is college recruiting for people who don't know how Google works.

The NFL Combine is approaching that territory. It used to be the only way for us to figure out how good college athletes were because our exposure was limited to watching the top teams play every week. Without the Combine, we would have thought that Danny Wuerffel was a good idea.

But now fans have ample online resources to learn about recruits. It used to be that Mel Kiper was the only one with a mock draft, but now everyone does (including SB Nation!). We even know ahead of time who will do well at the Combine (Ezekiel Ansah) and who won't (Manti Te'o). You could tune in to watch college players run and lift weights but, to paraphrase Kenny Powers, I like watching sports, not who's the best at exercise.

The most important parts of the Combine are the ones we don't get to see. Those are the team interviews with players ("Tyler Bray doesn't attend offseason workouts because May is Pizza Time") and the medical evaluation ("We have to buy special insurance if we draft Walter Stewart"). The rest is just window dressing because NFL Network can only show a special about the Grits Blitz so many times.

So I hope you enjoy the Combine coverage this week. You can learn from your favorite sportswriters how bad the weather is in Indianapolis and if the Hooters waitresses are falling for their lines. But you're not going to learn much about the draft.

Tim Tebow Something Something

This week we learned that Tim Tebow's probably going to hire a new PR firm. Not much else though. He remains an NFL-caliber Christianity salesman with a CFL-caliber throwing motion. Though if you want to have an ecumenical debate then the comments to this article are where you're going to change hearts and minds.

Quarterbacks On The Trade Block

It's hard to imagine in a year that featured the Cardinals starting Ryan Lindley, but some teams have a surplus of quarterbacks! The 49ers and Seahawks, to be specific. And both teams are going to shop them around until they can find someone who'll trade draft picks for someone who's going to get cut anyway. Now that Mike Tannenbaum is out of the league it's a real mystery which GM will be dumb enough to do that.

They Changed The Schwartz Rule

Remember how on Thanksgiving the Lions got penalized for challenging a play that was subject to automatic review? I don't because Thanksgiving means drinking like 10 beers so I can deal with all that family so I was pretty blasted when that happened. But it is a really dumb rule and the NFL finally changed it. In case you think that the NFL fixing something obviously stupid is a foregone conclusion and therefore not news, then I have two words for you: replacement refs.

Titus Young Barely Lasted A Week In St. Louis

Have you ever had a co-worker that lasted less than a month? I have! He asked for some time off to go to a radical faerie compound (don't Google that if you're at work) and later started doing heroin in Brooklyn laundromats. That's the company that Titus Young keeps, so don't expect any receivers to line up in the wrong position on purpose next year.

Free Agency Is Almost Here

Oh thank God. We can finally get angry at our team's GM not paying too much to get over-the-hill veterans. Unless your GM signs Osi Umenyiora, in which case, congratulations!

More in the NFL:

Chip Kelly wins Day 1 of the Combine

Kyle Long's winding road to the NFL

Michael Turner is probably done in Atlanta

Should QBs throw at the Combine? We asked an agent

Stupid things said at the NFL Combine