Why Is the NFL Combine in Indianapolis?

Indianapolis hosts one of the NFL's major events again in 2024. Why does the city host the NFL Combine, and is a new location in the future plans?

For over three decades, the city of Indianapolis has played host to one of the NFL’s biggest events of the year: the NFL Scouting Combine. How did Indianapolis become the home of the Combine, and is there a chance it could move locations in the future?

Why Is the NFL Combine in Indianapolis?

The biggest reason the league hosts the event in Indianapolis is because it’s the most central location in the NFL. Teams can easily travel to Indianapolis, and it is essentially the same distance for East Coast and West Coast teams.

Before the centralization of the NFL Combine in 1985, as proposed by Dallas Cowboys president and general manager Tex Schramm, NFL teams would have to schedule individual workouts with college players for interviews and to have them run drills.

In 1982, an early form of the NFL Combine — the National Invitational Camp — held its first combined workout in Tampa, Fla. Between 1982 and 1984, three different camps would be going on, with teams going to them to watch prospects.

The first centralized NFL Combine took place in 1985, with Arizona providing the host location. It moved to New Orleans the following year before a tradition was born in 1987 with Indianapolis as the host location — where it has remained ever since.

How Long Has the NFL Combine Been in the Same Location?

As mentioned above, the NFL Combine has been in Indianapolis since 1987, ensuring consistency for evaluators for 37 years.

The Combine started at the RCA Dome, where the Combine was hosted until 2009. Lucas Oil Stadium took over as the host stadium, which was the new home of the Indianapolis Colts.

Will the Combine Change Locations?

Looking into the future, Indianapolis will host the NFL Combine in 2024 and 2025 after signing a one-year extension in January 2024. That leaves the question of whether the city will still host the event in 2026 and beyond, or if the decision will be made to move it.

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There have been other cities that have been in conversation about hosting the NFL Combine over the last few years. Those cities include Dallas and Los Angeles.

The possibility of it being moved eventually — in line with the NFL Draft and Super Bowl — has increased throughout the years, but as a major event for the city, Indianapolis will likely fight to keep the NFL Combine for as long as possible.

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