The Short Game: It’s All about the Pageantry


Mike Carlson, Spear Contributor

If you haven’t watched the Miss America Pageant, I’d recommend you do so at least once in your life. It’s quite the spectacle to behold. Whether you are like me and watch in hopes of a Kardashian-level meltdown during the question portion or whether you watch because you have a genuine appreciation of pageants (The odds of me winning a dunk contest are still better than that latter group being a majority), there is something for everyone.

And by “everyone” I mean “anyone who likes seeing 50 different iterations of the same talent.” Seriously, ladies, if you want to impress an audience, don’t sing the “Wicked” showstopper “Defying Gravity.” Instead, actually defy gravity and fly. However, I’m getting ahead of myself.

For those who do watch (or TiVo) Miss America, but are afraid of losing your man card if the secret gets out got out, the NFL Combine is a wonderful alternative which you don’t have to watch in secret.

Yes, the NFL Combine and Miss America are similar events. My apologies to sports fans hearing this for the first time.

Instead of rampant estrogen there is crazed testosterone. It isn’t about who looks good in a bikini, it’s about who looks good in those wildly colored Under Armor uniforms. The questions don’t revolve around solving world hunger, but rather solving a zone blitz. Plus, the talent portion is pretty much the entire event. Take that Miss [insert state here] singing [insert classic song here]!

Connecticut corner Byron Jones used the Combine to put himself on the map. He flew (sorry, broad jumped) a record 12 feet 3 inches, posted a vertical jump of 44.5 inches, and blazed through the 40-yard and 60-yard shuttle runs less than a month removed from shoulder surgery. The one thing scouts could find about his game that they didn’t like was his susceptibility to kryptonite.

To keep with the pattern of defensive backs, Michigan State corner Trae Waynes put up a 40-yard dash of 4.31 which, believe it or not, is just a tick slower than the Kardashian-Humphries marriage. Waynes was easily the guy who benefitted the most from the draft not including those known for swiping crab-legs (that may never get old).

Speaking of crab legs, there were many questions surrounding Jameis Winston concerning his weight and ability. He answered those questions and more. He was sharper than a Donald Trump stare in drills and, according to many teams, was brilliant in the post-workout interviews. He did however run a terribly sluggish 4.97 second 40-yard dash. Well, I guess that answers the age old question of how fast you have to be to work at a Publix Grocery Store.

There were, however, some performances reminiscent of Miss Teen South Carolina.

Michigan linebacker Frank Clark posted a Rob Kardashian type of performance when it came to media interviews. His extracurricular activities (the ones which you will not find on a resume) dominated the conversation. On the bright side, he received an A+ when it came to passing the blame off to other things.

Amber Abdullah, a running back for Nebraska, ran a pedestrian 4.6 40-yard dash (those are some fast pedestrians) and didn’t really blow anyone away in any of the other events. The worst part about his day was that he is graded as one of the most upstanding young men in the draft. Wouldn’t want any of those in the NFL, now would we?

Miss America is the final stop, so-to-speak, for the women who take part. For NFL rookies, this is the farthest thing from the truth. It’s just another step in the path to the NFL. In the span of a career, rough performances are about as memorable as “Smurfs 2.” Wait who was in that movie again?

Besides, what other job interview allows for you to showcase your talents in such a unique way?

Sign me up.

For the Combine, of course.