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Matthew Hoy currently works as a metro page designer at the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The opinions presented here do not represent those of the Union-Tribune and are solely those of the author.

If you have any opinions or comments, please e-mail the author at: hoystory -at- cox -dot- net.

Dec. 7, 2001
Christian Coalition Challenged
Hoystory interviews al Qaeda
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Sunday, December 12, 2004
Someone explain this to me: I'm watching ESPN's Sunday Night Football game and they have that "Pass Track" video/graphic. It shows that a pass thrown by Donovan McNabb (which was intercepted) was travelling at 60 mph. Analyst Joe Theisman then says that 60 mph football toss is equivalent to a 101 mph baseball pitch.

I don't get it. Is he saying that the passer's arm strength is equivalent to Randy Johnson throwing a 101 mph fastball? If anyone could enlighten me I'd appreciate it.

8:16 PM

Comments:
Because of the mass of a football, it requires more force. Thus, the force exerted by McNabb is the same amount of force (exerted in Newtons) as Johnson.
 
If McNabb can throw it 60 mph, how fast can Favre heave it?
 
In terms of kinetic energy, I think Joe's pretty close to correct. A baseball weighs 5-5.25 oz, a football weighs 14-15 oz. That's a ratio of about 2.8 in favor of the football. Kinetic energy goes as the velocity squared, so to get the same "zip" on a baseball, it has to have about 1.7 (square root of 2.8) times the velocity as a football. 60 times 1.7 equals 102.

It's pretty shocking to have an ex-jock get physics right on National TV. Someone call the FCC!
 
You need to factor air resistance in as well. A football is significantly bigger than a baseball. Also a football is not a sphere and tumbles easily and the baseball has the stitching, etc.

The analysis will not be easy.
 
It might also have something to do with how much it hurts to catch. They seemed to be emphasizing that aspect in last night's game with M Vick.
 
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