# Watching a Football game: When you understand the science you

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```					Fun things to watch for
during a Football game…
Physics in Motion
Prof. David Toback
Department of Physics
and Astronomy

David Toback
October 8, 2009   Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Watching a Football Game
When you understand the
science you can understand
what makes a team successful

I’ll show a couple of slides and video
with some fun things to look for when
you are watching your next game

David Toback
October 8, 2009   Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Overview

• Offense: Trying to score a touchdown
• Defense: Trying to prevent a
touchdown
• Punting: Kicking the ball to the other
team because it’s their turn
few words and then watch some
examples

David Toback
October 8, 2009   Professor of Physics and Astronomy
The Physics
• Football, like most sports, is a game
of speed and power, only more
extreme
• The quarterback can throw a ball over
70 yards (~70 meters)
• The people protecting the quarterback
are enormous, ~300 lbs (~150 kg)
• The people trying to catch the ball
are incredibly fast, some have run
track in the Olympics!
• Punters can kick a ball high in the air
over 50 yards (~50 meters)
David Toback
October 8, 2009   Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Why is this important?
• One of the things that makes football
players special is the balance between
their speed and their size
• This is especially important on offence
and defense
• Physics Equation:
– Energy = ½ MV2 where M is the Mass of
the player (how much he weighs, how big
he is) and V is his speed (how fast or
how quick he is)
David Toback
October 8, 2009   Professor of Physics and Astronomy
So what?
• If you are trying to run with the ball,
then the bigger you are the more
energy you have to not get tackled
(you can break out of their arms!)
• However:
– Most really heavy people can’t run very
fast
– Most people who can run really fast
aren’t very heavy
• What makes these men special is that they
are they are big AND fast
David Toback
October 8, 2009   Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Offense
• Offense: A running back’s effectiveness is
dependent on his energy, which is a
combination of both his mass and his speed
(mostly his speed). For this reason he
sometimes will start far back behind the
line of scrimmage so he can get some real
speed (some real energy). This allows him
to bounce off tackles and make big gains.
• Video clip 1: Running back in the backfield,
gets lots of speed, breaks a few tackles,
and runs for a big gain

David Toback
October 8, 2009   Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Defense
• Defense: A defense's effectiveness is
dependent on the same thing. Again, a
combination of mass and speed. Having big
guys who can run fast is the ultimate

• Video clip 2: The defense is trying to get
to the quarterback. By mistake one of
them is allowed to run really fast so he can
get to the quarterback
• Video clip 3 Video clip 4: "The Hit" which is
the ultimate combination of size and speed
David Toback
October 8, 2009   Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Punting
A punter kicks the football to a person
downfield. While the ball is in the
area his team runs down the field to
try and tackle the guy who just
caught the ball

David Toback
October 8, 2009   Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Perfect Balance!
#2:
#1:
Kick #3:
Good: Spends a long time in
Goes really pretty far!
• Good enough: Goesfar!
the air so theSpends long time
• Good Doesn’t spend a a good to
catch itof Person catching gives
in the has to in the air it
amountair! time wait. This so
will people tryingtimeto tackle
who to to start
the have lots ofwant tackle
him enough time to get there!
running before the people
haveLOTS oftime to get there!
trying to tackle him far!
• Bad: Doesn’t go veryget there.
He can build up speed! Makes
him harder to catch and tackle

David Toback
October 8, 2009        Professor of Physics and Astronomy
• Next time you’re at a Football
game, watch the power and
speed

David Toback
October 8, 2009   Professor of Physics and Astronomy

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 views: 63 posted: 11/25/2011 language: English pages: 11