INDIANAPOLIS – The city of Indianapolis put an impressive foot forward over the past couple of months in hosting Super Bowl XLVI.
More than 1.1 million people visited the Super Bowl Village in downtown Indianapolis. More than 265,000 people visited the NFL Experience, a record number for any Super Bowl, and the game between the New York Giants and New England Patriots drew approximately 160 million viewers worldwide.
Indianapolis became the 14th site to host a Super Bowl, and the city returns to NFL business as usual this week as the Combine makes a return appearance. Indianapolis has been the host site of the annual scouting event since the late 1980s, and the city has established itself as an outstanding venue to hold the event.
The geographic location of Indianapolis makes it as convenient as possible for the 32 competing teams. Hotel accommodations near Lucas Oil Stadium make for easy access for all attendees, while medical facilities near the site ease part of the process that goes on in conjunction with the event.
Approximately 325 draft-eligible players will attend the Combine and will go through a battery of assignments in front of owners, general managers, head coaches and assistants for all 32 teams. Starting Thursday, players will be interviewed by team executives, undergo medical, physical and psychological testing and most will participate in drills related to their specific positions (some opt to hold "Pro Days" on their campus). Drills conducted at the Combine include the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill and shuttle runs. Each team is allowed to interview up to 60 players, with sessions running no longer than 15 minutes.
Additionally, many will be made available to media covering the event. What used to attract fewer than 15 reporters in the early Combines in Indianapolis now draws near 700 media members, including the NFL Network which again will televise the Combine. Player groupings made available for interviews will be offensive linemen, kickers, punters, long snappers and tight ends on Thursday, quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers on Friday, defensive linemen and linebackers on Saturday and defensive backs on Sunday.
An added feature this year is that 250 fans will be eligible to view the quarterbacks and receivers groups working out on Sunday for the 32 teams. Fans can apply by registering at 1iota.com, where they will be asked to upload a photo and submit a short essay on why they should be chosen. At Super Bowl XLVI, more than 7,000 fans were able to attend Media Day and observe interviews of players and coaches for both teams.
The official start of the league year is March 13. The draft will be held on Thursday, April 26 (8:00 p.m. ET, first round), Friday, April 27 (7:00 p.m. ET, second and third rounds) and Saturday, April 28 (12:00 p.m. ET, fourth through seventh rounds).
Indianapolis (2-14 in 2011) owns the top pick in the draft. The Colts will have the first pick in odd-numbered rounds, but will alternate with St. Louis in the even-numbered rounds since the Rams finished last season at 2-14 as well. The Colts earned the first overall selection based on strength of schedule. The combined won-loss record of the Colts' 2011 opponents was 138-118 (.539), while those of the Rams earned a mark of 151-105 (.590).