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The best 10 Sport Science lessons (part 2: Football)

In part 1 of our feature on Sport Science, we looked through the eyes of science and biomechanics at ball striking sports such as baseball, softball, and golf. Today, in the second part of the feature, we will look at a sport where the target being struck, is the athlete himself.

American Football is often considered the most demanding sport there is, both physically and mentally. Football players are incredibly strong and athletic, performing feats most of us could only dream of. At the same time they play under immense pressure, where the outcome of each play could be the difference between victory and defeat.

Every Sunday, millions of viewers gather in front of their TVs to watch these amazing athletes compete. And often we find ourselves wondering, do we have what it takes to be a professional football player? Lucky for us, Sport Science is here to answer just that question. And in order to do so, they have recruited stars like Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Chad Johnson, Ray Lewis, and Jerry Rice, the best of the best of the NFL.

We will look at each position on the football field and find out just what it takes to become a premier football player, using science and the study of bio-mechanics.

The Offensive Lineman

Offensive linemen are the biggest men on the football field. They are in charge of protecting the Quarterback, and also creating running lanes for the Running backs. However, very little focus is paid to what these men actually have to deal with. This episode takes us into the line of scrimmage to see what the offensive linemen have to deal with on every play of the game. You think you can handle Kris Jenkins? Just watch.

It is amazing to see the amount of technique that it requires to be an effective lineman. Not only are these guys big and strong, they also have solid fundamentals which help them use their strength to its maximum potential.

The Linebacker

These guys are the secondary line of defense. They are fast, aggressive, and are a nightmare to Quarterbacks in a blitz or Running backs in the open field. In this episode we look at one of the best Linebackers in the game, Ray Lewis, and see just how much power he can hit with.

There we have it, Ray Lewis hit harder than a battering ram. Now imagine him running at you full speed on a football field…

The Running back

This is the blue collar grunt work position on the football field. It requires extreme toughness to carry the football and run straight into the teeth of the defense to gain those precious yards. The fear of any running back is the fumble. Therefore running backs are required to have great strength in order to hold onto the ball. But just how strong is their grip? Rudi Johnson steps up to the challenge, and the results are shocking.

Running backs do not only use their strength, but also great technique to make sure the ball is secure. Using the four point harness and keeping the ball tight will go a long way to reduce the number of fumbles of any aspiring running back.

The Wide receiver

The wide receiver is one of the more glamorous positions on a football team. They are the ones running full speed down field, and making spectacular catches for touchdowns. Our previous list looks at the best 10 catches in football, and will give you an idea just how athletic these guys really are. In this episode of Sport Science, two of the best wide receivers to have ever played the game, Chad Johnson and Jerry Rice, steps into the laboratory to demonstrate their athletic abilities.

Great lessons for wide receivers out there. Increase your range to become a bigger target, and use your fingertips to pull in those tough catches.

The Quarterback

He is the leader, the field general, and sometimes the heart and soul of a football team. Great Quarterbacks can lead a team to greatness, and poor quarterbacks can doom their team to mediocrity. A quarterback has the most responsibility of anyone on the field. They have to call the plays, read the defense, make adjustments, and when that’s all done, they have to throw the ball accurately with defensive lineman and linebackers charging him at full sprint. No wonder even the best quarterbacks only complete 60% of his passes.

Drew Brees is one of the best passing QBs in history. He is the 2nd QB ever to throw for 5000 yards in a single season, and is the 2008 offensive player of the year. If anyone can hit a bulls eye, he can. Drew attempts to hit a bulls eye from 20 yards. And the results are astonishing.

Drew’s accuracy is unbelievable. Proving that professional football players are truly amazing athletes, and their multi-million dollar contacts are probably worth the work they have put into the game.

Bonus clip:

We saw a great defensive lineman, and we saw a great quarterback. But what if we put them against each other? Ben Roethlisberger and Luis Castillo go head to head to tell us the answers.

As Al Pacino says in his pregame speech, it really is a game of inches.

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