Last Updated on November 15, 2011 by Jimson Lee
On Wednesday, Tennessee Titans Running back Chris Johnson tweeted about his desire to run track in the event of a NFL Lockout.
He tweeted, “Boy they need to let me kno what’s gonna happen with this NFL lockout if they do ima join the us track team” [sic]
We all remember the buzz when he recorded a 4.24 40 yard dash as the 2008 NFL Combine. I agree, that is fast.
You may recall the infamous “Chris Johnson vs. Usain Bolt” showdown that never happened. Money talks, right? And so does ego, too.
Before you start comparing apples to oranges, or rather a Fuji apple to a Spartan apple, you can’t compare the 40 yard dash Combine Test to a theoretical extrapolated 36.37 meter dash in the 100 meters.
Reasons (and there are many):
- running surface
- football cleats vs. track spikes
- reaction time is included in the 100 meters, anywhere from 0.100 to 0.170 seconds.
- no standard official timing device is used to record the 40 yard dash
- World class sprinters are still accelerating at the 40 yard point (or 36 meter mark)
Below is a chart that extrapolates the possible 40 yard dash time on the assumption the last 6.57 meters is an average running time of the 30-40m split. They are still accelerating at that split.
As you can clearly see, if you subtract the reaction time to Usain Bolt or Maurice Green time, you have a time of 4.19 and 4.20 for a “40 yard dash”. Even Ben Johnson has a 4.23 with no reaction time. Make no mistake about it, Chris Johnson’s 4.24 is very fast.
And finally, what if you subtracted 0.14 from their FAT time to downward convert it to a hand time? Races with the starting gun near the finish line requires a 0.14 factor, whereas a 100m starting line requires 0.24. See my full article here.
Are we looking at 4.0 or 4.1 hand time performances?
But I like to remind everyone that “Rocket” Raghib Ismail of Notre Dame ran 6.07 for 55 meters in Jan 1991, while Lee McRae (a true sprinter) of Pittsburgh holds the world record at 6.00 seconds set in 1986. Rumour has it that Ismail ‘s 40 yard times were in the range of 4.05, 4.16 and 4.24. However, he ran 10.40 for the 100 meters at Penn State later that year.
The bottom line is the 40 yard dash is a different “race” than a 55/60 meter dash, which is different than the 100 meters!