There's been a lot of talk the last couple of days in blogs, posts here and on sports talk radio about the "forty time". Specifically, the 40 yd. dash time of Josh Gordon.
I have read and heard comments like "He didn't even run a four-four-five" and "if he ran a four five, he'd never be able to run a four-four". Comments like this always make me chuckle a bit.
I'm an Engineer by trade, so sorry if this is a bit dull, but bear with me, I think the results may change the viewpoints of some people and later on, allow you to criticize your friends for their ignorant comments about NFL players "40 times".
First, a little recap of history that I'm sure most of you already know, but - just in case.....
The Forty Yard Dash was first used as a measure of a players speed by Paul Brown. This was because he viewed the Kickoff and Special Teams as an important part of the game. In his eyes, a player that could cover the distance from where the ball was kicked to where the receiving team took possession in the shortest time had higher value. Keep in mind that on a Kickoff a player starts from the line untouched and covers the majority of the distance ran untouched.
Fast forward to current times. Differences of tenths of seconds in the "40" can in theory cost a Wide Receiver or Cornerback draft position and literally (possibly) hundreds of thousands of dollars over a contract. I submit to you that the difference between a player that runs a 4.3 Vs. 4.6 is so minuscule, teams can't possibly put as much weight in the times that the fans (the same people that caused the Draft Combine to be continuously televised) do. The NFL executives can't be that naive, and here's why;
First and foremost, a Wide Receiver almost never runs for over 5 yards without some sort of physical challenge from a Cornerback. He's jammed, blocked,pushed held, or misdirected in some fashion on every play. The same Cornerback who, by the way, ran a 4.5 at the Combine, but started this play running backwards a few steps or coming forward to initiate contact with said Receiver. So, let's take all that out of the mix anyway and just analyze the 40 times of each of these players. You've got a WR that timed (on a perfect track in running shoes, starting from a sprinters position in starting blocks) at 4.4 agains your "slower" CB that only ran a disappointing 4.6 at his Pro day.
Under perfect conditions, if these two players were to run side by side for four seconds, the WR would finish seven inches in front of the CB. Let me say that again - 7 inches. I can do the math on how to arrive at that if you'd like, but I'm sure most of you are bright enough to figure it out.
So, seven inches on a perfect track, in perfect conditions, completely untouched and in a longer amount of time than probably 90% of most passing plays. We haven't even began to break down that 7" and it's difference when the players height and arm length are taken into account. Maybe another day.....
I hope if anything this post makes a couple of light bulbs go on, makes you smile........or at least inspires you to check my math......