Game Changer: Bears Using NFL Combine For Darts, Putt-Putt

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The NFL Combine can tell you a lot about how fast a prospect can traverse 40 yards and how far they can do a broad jump. However, the Chicago Bears came up with a way to gain insight into prospective draft picks‘ competitive nature.

Darts and putt-putt.

Bears GM Ryan Poles took a break from trying to shop the first-overall pick to join head coach Matt Eberflus on the NFL Network. They spoke about their unique approach to meeting prospective players.

“We talk about it all the time, some of the best players in this league they’re passionate about football,” Poles said. “We wanted to see that come out of them, we wanted to see the competitive side come out of them.”

Poles said that it was Eberflus’ idea to pack a dart board and some putters for the trip down to Indianapolis.

They’re no longer just games you play with a beer in one hand, they’re scouting tools.

Matt Eberflus and Ryan Poles
Bears head coach Matt Eberflus and GM Ryan Poles: the brain-trust behind darts and putt-putt. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Bears Are Geniuses For This

This is brilliant. Nowhere does a person’s competitive nature manifest itself more than when they’re playing an inconsequential game like cornhole, beer pong, or as the Bears are acutely aware, darts and putt-putt.

Friends become enemies, grudges are born, and feelings are inevitably hurt.

That is darts and putt-putt in a nutshell. That is football.

I know I’ve gotten competitive playing putt-putt golf. Yeah, I once ruined a few days of a family trip to the Jersey Shore trip thanks to the fallout from me missing a 20-foot putt through a lighthouse and into an alligator’s mouth. But, that’s just because I care.

I would crush this part of the Bears’ combine evaluations. I’d be terrible at all the football stuff.

Poles and Eberflus said that players come in and play a round against some of the Bears coaching staff.

“The coaches aren’t that good,” Eberflus added. “The players are way better.”

Poles also talked a little bit about what the team was going to do about that first overall pick of theirs. He said that the team is still weighing all of their options.

“It’s not an easy decision at all,” Poles said.

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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