In a way, Indianapolis is a victim of its own success in hosting the NFL Combine for the last three and a half decades.
The week-long event, during which steaks at St. Elmo's and late nights at High Velocity are as essential as the 40-yard dash, could be moved out of Indianapolis for at least the next two years. Indianapolis, along with Dallas and Los Angeles, later this spring will submit a bid to host both the 2023 and 2024 NFL Combines.
So there's a chance the NFL takes an event that's grown in downtown Indianapolis since 1987 and moves it elsewhere. The event has become such a success that other cities around the country want in on the action.
But Visit Indy and everyone else involved in the city's bidding process won't lose the event they've hosted so well for so long without a fight.
"We have been working with a sense of urgency since June to fine-tune how we put our best foot forward so that in the next couple of weeks, we'll submit a bid and the bid will be to keep it here for 2023 and 2024," Chris Gahl, the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Visit Indy, said.
"We're cautiously optimistic," Gahl added.
The crux of Indianapolis' pitch is that the combine can be held all under one roof. Medical evaluations, interviews and testing can all happen without players, scouts, coaches and trainers having to step outside thanks to the skyways and tunnels connecting the Indianapolis Convention Center to Lucas Oil Stadium and a number of hotels. The only time someone has to step outside is to grab dinner at one of the steakhouses or restaurants dotting downtown Indianapolis – none farther than a short walk away.
So not only is the event conducted as seamlessly as possible for the actual work being done, but it's convenient for everyone involved to be in the same few-block radius to catch up with old friends and enjoy what downtown Indianapolis has to offer.
"I love Indianapolis," Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said this week. "I don't think you can not appreciate what Indianapolis means to the National Football League.
"I know for me as a head coach and my time as a head coach, this is really kind of starting line for me to get into the draft process from the end of the season to last week we were full boar ahead, exit interviews, scheme evaluation, things like that. So, I don't think — last year was odd not going to Indianapolis for the Combine.
"To me, it's part of your process. I love the setup here. I think it's great. So, I've always enjoyed coming here and I think they do a great job hosting the combine."
Plenty of the chatter around downtown Indianapolis this week has been about how so few people want the Combine to be held elsewhere. It works for the scouting process, it works for the hundreds of media who descend upon the city, it works for the fans who get to attend on-field testing at Lucas Oil Stadium and it works for Indianapolis, which gets a $10 million economic boost from hosting the event, Gahl said.
We'll see in the coming weeks and months if Indianapolis' bid is successful. And this isn't to say Dallas or Los Angeles couldn't successfully host the NFL Combine.
But you didn't have to listen very closely to hear a common refrain this week amongst friends and colleagues around the halls of the convention center or tables of the steakhouses or seats at the bars: Hope to see you next year – here in Indianapolis.
"I think if you polled 31 other teams they're going to speak very positively on the city of Indianapolis and what they do to put on this event," Colts general manager Chris Ballard said. "And our downtown, the proximity to the stadium, to the convention center, to the medial — it just all fits and then plus great places to eat. It's just a great setting to have the entire NFL in and to be able to work and get our jobs done."
Check out photos of current Colts players on the field at the Combine. Stay tuned to Colts.com all week long for coverage of the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.