Forget about Halloween reruns. Ignore all those reviews for Paranormal Activity. Try to suppress the image of a 205 pound chick in a size 6 schoolgirl outfit (seriously whore - it's not an excuse!).
No, no, and no. That's not even close as terrifying as this article from SI.com. If you're a fan of the NFL Draft and/or college football, it's a must read. If not, a brief summary, in my own words:
The company that controls the game film for 8 of the 11 major college football conferences, XOS, has always given the NFL access to game film for free. In return, the NFL has ran the Junior Advisory Committee, which advises underclassmen their draft status should they declare. Now they, or more accurately, the conferences, want the NFL to pay up for access to this film. To the tune of $20 or $30 million. Quite obviously, the NFL has balked at that asking price.
Now, if you're thinking that this isn't a problem just yet, you'd be wrong. According to the article, tape typically starts arriving at NFL offices around the league around Week 2 of the regular season. However, with this dispute, tape has yet to arrive, nor will it until things have been worked out. Also, colleges are denying NFL scouts on-site access to film, a courtesy extended in the past.
Well then. That sounds like a problem, even for a team with a large scouting staff. With no game tape, a scout would have to rely on television replays (almost impossible to judge everyone on the field) and traditional scouting (unreliable as you only get one look in real-time).
For a team like the Bengals, with next to nothing in terms of a scouting staff, any sort of delay in the process could be deadly. They're already light years behind in preparation for the 2010 Draft.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not blaming the Bengals for the situation. The conferences aren't asking for the money from the teams individually, they're asking for it from the league as a whole. I don't blame the NFL for rejecting their offer outright.
However, this situation simply underscores the value of a large, competent scouting department. If one of your scouts is sick or has to take some leave, you can cover it. If you don't have access to game film, your scouts can overlap a bit and form a general consensus. Hard to get a reliable, general consensus with one or two guys out there scouting. And think how many guys could slip through the cracks. Let's just hope this gets fixed.
Finally, check out this killer quote:
"And if you don't have [the video], it becomes very problematic for some teams to scout. If you have a general manager who doesn't travel to scout, he can't see the players because he doesn't have the [video].''