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Adidas seeks to create buzz even at Under Armour-sponsored NFL combine

Alabama defensive back Cyrus Jones -- a Gilman alum -- runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 29, 2016.
Alabama defensive back Cyrus Jones -- a Gilman alum -- runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. (Michael Conroy / AP)

Under Armour's interlocking logo is everywhere at the NFL's scouting combine, but rival Adidas is making a play for attention in Indianapolis with a marketing tactic.

Under Armour announced in September that it was extending its deal to outfit players participating in the combine. The combine is held every year for potential draft picks and team representatives.

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The four-days of on-field workouts, concluding today at Lucas Oil Stadium, have become enough of a media event that Adidas sought some of the luster.

Adidas announced before the event that it would pay $1 million to any player breaking the all-time combine record for the 40-yard dash.

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There was an important stipulation: the player had to be wearing Adidas-branded footwear when he set the record.

And there was a caveat: the record of running back Chris Johnson – 4.24 seconds – was set in 2008 and poses an extremely high bar.

So high, in fact, that none of the combine's running backs and wide receivers broke the mark when they ran last week.

The last chance came today from the defensive backs. But the unit's best time of 4.33 seconds – delivered by Auburn's Jonathan Jones – also fell short.

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The NFL Network tweeted this afternoon:

"Hey @ChrisJohnson28, Your 4.24 is safe...at least for another year"

But Adidas did manage some publicity from online media simply by making the offer.

In 2014, Under Armour passed Adidas in combined apparel and footwear sales to become the second biggest sports brand in the United States.

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