Saturday, October 8, 2011


One one thousandth, two one thousandths, three one thousandths...

Read the above aloud at normal speed and that's about three seconds.  How much can you do in three seconds? 

If you're a quarterback you'd better be able to do a lot. 

Marisa Rivas handing off - with defender closing in. 
Linewome are faster than they look.  Or is that a d-back blitzing?
It takes about three seconds from the time the quarterback gets the ball for one or more defensive tacklers to break through the line. 

George Plimpton wrote "The Paper Lion," a book about himself, a journalist, trying to play quarterback for the Detroit Lions.  In the "Paper Lion" he describes going through practices and then running a short series of plays in a pre-season game.   One thing that struck him most was  how fast everything happened. 

Think three seconds.  Fast.

Watching the NFL games on TV, do the count - one one thousand, two one thousand - and see for yourself just how quick the quarterback has to be.  Get the ball from center, turn and hand off to the right running back. 

Marisa again.  If you don't find a receiver quickly, you may be
surrounded by tacklers.  In this play she did escape and passed
the ball down field before being swarmed under.
Or take four steps back into the pocket and look for a pass receiver.  If you don't find a receiver fast the defensive line may find you.  And big as those linewomen are, they're remarkably fast. 

Three seconds. 

If you still have the ball after three seconds, you may be surrounded by a bunch of large ladies seeking to do you harm. 

Number 12 - is that Fiedler? - has about three seconds before
the Houston defender descends.
Sometimes you'll hear announcers praise quarterbacks for finding a second or third receiver when the primary receiver is covered.  That's remarkable because it has to be done so quickly.  Three seconds - your first receiver is covered.  Where is the secondary receiver? Up the middle.  Covered.  Third?  Open!  Defender a step behind so lead the receiver she'll beat the cornerback to the ball.  

Fire that ball down field before the linewoman closes in and is on your back. 

The quickness of quarterbacks is amazing. The quickness of athletes in general.  Watching the game from an easy chair, it looks so easy.  But get out there on the field, ala George Plimpton, and see how much is happening in how short a time. 

Monica in a scrimmage in Waco.  She has just released the pass and is about to meet an opposing
linewomen up close.  Not only do you have to be quick, you have to perform in spite of being attacked. 

We've been talking about quarterbacks.  Equally amazing are the line players.  From the snap of the ball they have about three seconds to get around the blocker, maybe get around two blockers, find out who has the ball, and chase that ball carrier, wrap her up, and drag her to the ground.  Ball carriers are quick and elusive.  But in every game you'll see plays where the defensive line succeeds.  Nail the runner or sack the quarterback. 

Ski closing in on a Dallas Quarterback, whose three seconds are about up. 

I'm a sports fan because I've tried all the different sports.  I experienced for myself just how difficult it is what real athletes do.  I've played football, baseball, hockey, tennis, golf, bowling.  Even a little basketball and very little soccer (I'm big, I hate running).  Poorly.  I've had little successes - won the longest drive award at a company golf outing, took the football away from a ball carrier, hit a softball out of the park.  But mostly my experience has taught me a deep admiration for real athletes. 

That's what I experience watching the Outlaws - a deep admiration for people who are doing something extremely difficult.  And doing it well. 

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