Sunday, December 17, 2006

Suspended Gatlin bids for future in NFL - Yahoo! News: "Brandt also said his speed advantage might not be as great as some might expect.

'We've got a lot of guys playing cornerback that run (40 yards in) 4.4 or 4.35 seconds. There are not many slow guys anymore,' the NFL expert said

Uh huh, do all those cornerbacks have Olympic medals and world records? Forty-yard terms are ludicrously inaccurate for a number of reasons. Most notably, they are hand-timed, often feature a rolling start and react to the runner rather than the runner reacting to the clock. If 40-yard dashes were a legitimate event on the track, very few people would break 5 seconds. To convert hand times to electronic times, 0.24 seconds are added. A further 0.2-0.3 seconds can be added for reaction time.

Or, on the other hand, if Justin Gatlin was timed running 100 metres by Gil Brandt, he could run a full second faster than his current best of 9.77. The fastest 100 metres ever run is Carl Lewis' 8.85 split in the 4x100 at the Barcelona Olympics. Gatlin, hand-timed with a running start, is going to be closer to 8.5 seconds.

Gatlin likely won't do much in the NFL. Speed in football and on the track are subtly different. Speed is also just one subset of the skills a wide receiver needs to succeed in the NFL. On the other hand, a third wide receiver in the NFL likely makes as much as the Olympic and world champion on the track.

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