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Many commentators refer to a player's 40-yard dash time to make a point of how fast a player is. This is admittedly relevant by the time of the draft but not so much afterwards, one would think. Many fast receivers can't make it to Combine due to injuries every year, and it doesn't mean that they are any slower than others. Similarly, just because a player has had a relatively good/bad time once doesn't mean that they will perform at that level consistently throughout their career. There is a thing called a decline, and another thing called improvement :)

Considering the amount of technology that is available, one would think it would surely be possible to get more up-to-date measurements of running speed and/or acceleration. Why is the combine 40-time still a thing after years in the NFL?

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it would surely be possible to get more up-to-date measurements of running speed and/or acceleration one would think

Absolutely it's possible, and in these days of analytics every single NFL team will be doing this for every player multiple times a season. But they don't make that data public, both because it could give an advantage to opposing teams and because the players don't want it made public.

Pretty much the only things which are public are the player's combine performances, so they get used.

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one would think it would surely be possible to get more up-to-date measurements of running speed and/or acceleration.

Yeah there are more up to date stats on players stats and acceleration, but not official results captured at the same time where all teams agree on them. A lot of times when watching games, if a receiver or punt returner breaks out defenders with speed for a score the broadcast shows their speed throughout their run just seconds after it happens. So we definitely have the technology for it. These measurements are also in game, with pads on, so you could argue they're meaningful than a 40 yard dash in the combine.

The point of the dash is that almost everyone who gets drafted goes through the combine and does the 40. So you have a stat line of those who got drafted on that year doing the same run, within days of each other under the exact same conditions. This is a stat line the measures a player's baseline speed/acceleration of when they got drafter. And since majority of draftees do it, it gives a precise measurable to the GMs to compare guys's speed/acceleration at the draft time.

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