View Full Version : 40 times are B-O-G-U-S....
02-05-2003, 05:45 PM
Ok, I've got this pet peeve about the 40 times you always hear reported about draft prospects. And seeing as I've had the discussion/argument numerous times on nearly every board I've been a member at, I figure, why not here?
Granted, there hasn't been too much draft talk here lately.
So here goes....my little cautionary note, not to put much (I prefer "ANY") stock in the 40 times you'll hear reported about certain players.....Part I......
1988 Seoul Olympics
Ben Johnson runs a then World Record 100m in 9.79, later DQd due to steroids. Carl Lewis was the runner-up in a time of 9.92.
Johnson's 30m split was 3.8 seconds. His 40m split was 4.66 seconds.
Lewis' 30m split was 3.9 seconds. His 40m split was 4.79 seconds.
40 yards converts to 36.576m.
Given that information, their '40' times project to:
Johnson - 4.365536
Lewis - 4.485264
And these times are actually TOO FAST. Because they are based on the average time per meter over the 30-40m split.
In reality, the runner is accelerating constantly through the split (elite 100m sprinters accelerate THROUGH 60m), and would be running slower over the first 6.576 meters of the split, than at the end of the split.
The fastest player in the NFL that I can determine is Michael Bennett. It was reported during the Minnesota/Miami game that Bennett ran a 9.95 100m in the offseason, which would be a personal record. I have found no faster times for any player in the NFL. Even Olympian John Capel, who is now concentrating on track, only has a PR of 10.03 in the 100m. He's a 200m specialist.
So.....Ben Johnson running a World Record 100m only projected to a 4.37. Carl Lewis running a 9.92 only projected to a 4.49. And as I said, those times are TOO FAST.
These are trained sprinters, with spikes, using starting blocks. Just keep that in mind.
Bennett, arguably the fastest man in the NFL, looks to have a PR of 9.95 in the 100m. That is .03 seconds SLOWER than Lewis, which in the 100m is a pretty big differential. When Maurice Greene set his record of 9.79, it dropped the WR by .05 seconds (over Bailey's 9.84), which was the biggest reduction in the record ever.
In other words, you have to run SUB 10 seconds in the 100m to even SNIFF 4.5.
And don't bother bringing up the 'longer race' argument for the 100m. The 100m, first of all, is classified as a short sprint. The ONLY difference between the 100m and shorter races, is one of endurance.
Ben Johnson's 50m and 60m splits in the '88 race were FASTER than the current World Records for those distances.
In other worlds, a sprinter running world class 100m times, is by definition running world class short sprint times.
02-05-2003, 05:46 PM
Current World Records:
50m - 5.56, Donovan Bailey
60m - 6.39, Maurice Greene
Now, here are the 50m and 60m split times from several 100m finals.
1987 World Championships (Rome):
Ben Johnson (9.83) -5.53, 6.38
Carl Lewis (9.93) - 5.64, 6.50
'88 Olympics (Seoul):
Ben Johnson (9.79) - 5.5, 6.33
Carl Lewis (9.92) - 5.65, 6.48
'91 World Championships (Tokyo):
Carl Lewis (9.86) - 5.61, 6.46
Leroy Burrell (9.88) - 5.55, 6.41
Dennis Mitchell (9.91) - 5.55, 6.42
'97 World Championships (Athens):
Maurice Greene (9.86) - 5.55, 6.4
Donovan Bailey (9.91) - 5.58, 6.43
Tim Montgomery (9.93) - 5.56, 6.42
Frank Fredericks (9.94) - 5.58, 6.44
Ato Boldon (10.02) - 5.58, 6.45
'99 World Championships (Sevilla):
Maurice Greene (9.8) - 5.55, 6.39
Bruny Surin (9.84) - 5.53, 6.38
Again, this data proves that sprinters running world class 100m times, are also running world class 50m and 60m times.
ENDURANCE is the difference between the races, NOT speed or acceleration.
02-05-2003, 05:47 PM
Here's some more on the HAND vs ELECTRONIC timings, again proving how bogus the 40 times you hear are.
House of Speed is a company that describes itself as the "Official Speed Consultants and Speed Instructors for the Chicago Bears." They also hold a Combine for high school recruits. In their results, they include both hand and electronic 40 times. Here are some of the highlights of some of the top prospects in the nation.
Tommy Zbikowski (QB/S) is rated 4* by Rivals, and was selected to play in the US Army All American bowl, which takes the top 75 HS players in the nation. Tom Lemming, a recruiting guru, lists him as the #3 athlete prospect in the country. Insiders rates him as the #88 overall prospect in the country.
I think his credentials are established.
Rivals lists him with a 40 of 4.4. He's doing a 'Diary' for ESPN.com detailing his recruiting process. He's listed at 4.35 there.
At the HOS Combine, he was hand timed at 4.49, and electronically timed at 4.88.
Reggie Smith is a HS DE, who projects to OLB. His 40 on Rivals is listed at 4.56.
At the HOS Combine, he was hand timed at 4.71, and electronically timed at 5.07.
Trey Koziol is a HS TE, who is a 3* prospect on Rivals, listed with a 4.8.
At the HOS Combine, he was hand timed at 4.98, and electronically timed at 5.54.
Alex Woodley is a 2* RB on Rivals, with a 40 time listed at 4.5.
At the HOS Combine, he was hand timed at 4.59, and electronically timed at 4.79.
Donte Whitner is a 4* CB on Rivals, with a listed 40 of 4.43.
At the HOS Combine, he was hand timed at 4.3, and electronically timed at 4.78.
The FASTEST electronic time from that Combine, was posted by DB Theodore Ginn with a 4.71(hand 4.48).
In other words...........
40 TIMES ARE COMPLETELY BOGUS.
02-05-2003, 06:19 PM
I can't argue your point at all. Your research is pretty impressive.
So my question is: Why the mass delusion?
Why in the hell does every single person connected with the NFL routinely report wideouts who do sub 4.4's when that can't be true? Is it just the hand timing is the perferred method, or electronic timing is just too unwieldy for scouting purposes?
Maybe clubs like all the bs flying around so they can clock their own time and use that as a measuring stick.
I remember when Jerry Rice came out a lot of people were saying that he ran a 4.6 and some scouts had their doubts about his speed. Maybe the guy who clocked him knew what he was doing.
02-05-2003, 06:38 PM
There are a number of factors for the perpetuation of these bogus times.
One is perception. Does it sound more impressive to say a guy ran 4.3 or 4.8? Even if it were relative to a lineman posting a legit 6.0, 4.8 doesn't sound flashy. 4.3 does.
Part also stems from the early days of the Combine. Deion Sanders holds the unofficial Combine record with a 4.27, and there are only 3 others to have "broken" 4.3 in Combine history. Why is Sanders' time only considered unofficial? Because in the early days of the Combine, the 40 was hand timed.
You probably hear that the reason top prospects don't run at the Combine, is because of the notoriously "slow" track.
Utter BS. What basically happened, is that the Combine switched to fully electronic timing. As such, the times increased markedly.
Why have Combine times dropped in recent years? Because they've switched the timing method yet again. It is hand started, but electronically stopped. The reason for this, was to entice the better prospects to work out at Indy. As one would expect, times have dropped. And while the top, top prospects still wait for their Pro Day, some bigger names are opting to run at the Combine. I don't think it is any coincidence.
Another reason is providing some sort of standard. The Combine uses the combo method. Pro Days use hand times. How are you gonna provide a standardized timing method for every Pro Day? Even at Pro Days, the surface that 40s are run on varies. Some do it on the track, some on turf, and some on grass.
Furthermore, Pro Day results are not a solid time.....they are an average. Which is why you hear that Donte Stallworth ran a 4.18 last year, but also a 4.25 (iirc). The latter time was the average of all times, while the former was simply the fastest single time.
Here's a picture to show you how unstructured the Pro Day timings are. This is from Quentin Jammer's pro day last year:
It is just a bunch of guys with stopwatches, clustered 'near' the finish line.
Hand times cannot even be compared to hand times, because each run will be different. It depends on the reaction time of the timer (to the runner's first move), and the anticipation of the finish.
Also....don't you think these NFL guys want to see fast times, just like the rest of us. So when a heralded prospect runs, they might anticipate the finish that much faster?
Here's something to try. Get stopwatch. Start it, and try to stop it at exactly 5 seconds.
I've done that exercise, and I generally anticipate the finish by about .2 seconds. And in this instance, you're trying to EXTEND the time as long as possible. Contrast that to a situation where the lowest time is what is wanted.
Spirit of 76
02-05-2003, 07:01 PM
I have often wondered just how fast some of these guys really are. You hear that so and so runs a 4.4 and he can't catch joe schmo that runs a 4.6 while having a perfect angle on the guy. Thanks for clearing things up Freak. Maybe BB has been onto this crap for a while. He doesn't seem too enamored with these measurables. Pick a solid player and coach him to win.
Good post freak. The part about the top prospects steering away from the combine extends to more than just the speed positions. Once rated highly many players feel that they have nowhere to go but down. There is a backlash against players who get invited and don't show but I'm sure that many would rather face a subjective backlash than one caused by an objectively poor performance.
The league should require their own testing program prior to the draft in order to be eligible for the first round. That would get them there.
02-05-2003, 07:25 PM
Ditto what No Respect said.
What I can't figure out is that if the NFL scouts KNOW that times are getting embellished, then why would they even consider drafting a guy who is supposed to be a 4.4 guy when they don't get a chance to verify it? Let one top prospect drop a few rounds as an example and they'd ALL be allowing the combine to test them in a fair and equitable manner even if it means that the numbers aren't as flashy.
It's like steroids. One guys does it and the rest all feel compelled to cheat to keep up.
I glad that the Pats espouse a philosophy of considering game performance as one of thier primary tools when evaluating talent and not getting all worked up over numbers that might very well be bogus
02-05-2003, 07:37 PM
To be honest, I've even heard Belichick cite some bogus 40 times. But to his credit, he doesn't put much stock in them. He wants football players first and foremost.
I don't think it is a conscious thing on the part of the NFL. It is something that has just sort of evolved. From the very beginning, the times were inaccurate just based on the timing method. With all the various switches, and other variables, the waters have only been muddied.
Again, how do you create a standardized method of timing?
Even the Combine does not invite all eligible prospects. Every year, there are some notable names left off the list of invitees, although they increased it for this year.
Does the NFL simply say that reps can't go to Pro Days? And invite every eligible prospect to the Combine?
Because if you keep the Pro Days, even with a standardized timing method, other variables would affect it. Surface for one. Also, the atmosphere of the Combine is far different than running in the familiar confines of one's campus. At the Combine, prospects are poked and prodded, and all the drills and exercises are done in a matter of days. At Pro Days, prospects have months to prepare for a few specific, simple tests.
Just so many things to consider. Ideally, all eligible prospects would be required to test at the Combine, and all timings standardized, preferably a fully electronic system. But can the culture of draft season change that radically, so quickly?
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