College All-Star games have been a staple of college football for over 100 years. A group of coaches, executives, media writers, and scouts select players with All American tags and promise of great things in the NFL. This method has proven quite reliable due to the talent seen in the All-Star contest that has gone on to the NFL. Let’s fast forward to now: Spread offenses, stronger athletes and speed, speed, and more speed! The game hasn’t changed at all. I will correct myself. The Point After Touchdown (P.A.T) is further back, challenge flags for certain plays, and a variety of rule changes to improve play. For the most part, the game is the same. It is the athletes/players who have changed. For decades, it would have been a pipe dream for players other than those at Major Colleges to play in the NFL. It would also have been a pipe dream for smaller athletes to excel in the NFL. With the adjustments to how the game is played, small college players and undersized players are on the come up! If this is the case, why shouldn’t college all-star events be the same way! In comes the College Gridiron Showcase!!
The College Gridiron Showcase (CGS) was started out of a bad experience. As I was working one of the several minor all-star games that litter the postseason, I noticed a lot of things that didn’t make sense and felt it could be better. After filling several loose-leaf pages with notes, comments, criticisms, and compliants; I came to the conclusion there was only one way to fix them – start an event myself. Along with my partner, Craig Redd; we developed an event that “made sense”. With the exception of the Senior Bowl, which I have much respect for, a good majority of these events lose money. Unless you are a huge corporation and are looking for a tax break, there needs to be an economic structure that makes sense. Also with the NFL pushing for safety for players, why would anyone want to play a game that didn’t count, with players they only met 2 days ago? Speaking of players, the reason to go to these events is to get exposure. Players want to get in front of someone who can offer them a job. With this information, CGS evolved the way All-Star events can be. CGS is the only event with one full day of player interviews with all 32 NFL teams plus all 9 CFL teams. It is a long day (9 hours) but the information gathered by scouts is priceless. Plus, the players get a chance to tell their story. CGS then has 2 days of practices on drills that scouts want to see. All of the plays are carded so that players can react and not have to think. CGS waste ZERO time with learning playbooks as this time could be better served with things that can help them. One the last day, there is a light scrimmage. There are enough plays to get players some reps but not to wear them out. It is always important for scouts to see how guys play with the other 10 guys. Then we do Combine Drills, the untimed ones as CGS is not allowed to time players. This is another way for players to be an individual in a team sport.
In closing, this is just the tip of the iceberg with the things CGS has changed with the all-star event circuit! It didn’t come with its detractors or people who try to bash what is being done. Yet these are the same people who are stuck with the phrase “ this is how we have always have done it”. I have a saying “ Everyone wants to be number one, but no one wants to be FIRST”. CGS is not only being FIRST but will continue to not only revolutionize how all-star events operate but how football players are evaluated, educated, and treated. I will leave you with this thought: Did taxi companies not see Uber coming??
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