Hey kid, how fast are you? Oh you run a 4.4 40-yard dash? That seems likely (pick up on the sarcasm).
Now I don’t have a 40-yard turf set up for you, but I’m willing to wager you couldn’t beat Percy Harvin (4.41) in a race. I just saw you play football, and you’re fast, no debating that, but I’m willing to bet that if LaMichael James (4.45) had a step on you, you aren’t catching him from behind.
An athletic pet peeve of mine is an exaggerated measurable, and directly in front of bench press and vertical leap is the 40-yard dash time. Many a chest cavity has been caved in trying to prove a 300-pound bench press, but when it comes to the 4.4 40 not even the sarcastic jape can justify an overrated speed claim. At some point the 40-yard dash became the ultimate measuring stick of football speed and explosion, and shortly after that the duplicity of the 4.4 became its elite measurement. What athletes, announcers, and pundits refuse to recognize is that when someone claims to run a 4.4 – or if you are reading in your notes that someone runs a 4.4 — it’s as ridiculous as any other gross miscalculation you could profess to a national audience. There is a difference between clocked speed and football speed, the legendary example being Jerry Rice and his 4.6, but a clocked 40 stays with an athlete like jewelry, and football speed doesn’t add carats. How many people have you seen run neck-and-neck down a sideline with A.J. Green (4.5)?
Only eight players ran legit 4.4 40s or faster in the 2012 NFL Combine, so why do so many players boast and, even worse, believe they can actually match that mythical number? Whether it’s a high school coach’s hand clock or just lip service, put ESPNU on Friday night or scroll through Rivals’ latest recruiting rankings and you’ll see a bevy of 4.4 40s. What is wrong with publicizing a 4.5? Randall Cobb ran a 4.45, try and catch him.
So next time before you even say 4.4, stop and ask yourself if that person is faster than Percy Harvin, LaMichael James, A.J. Green or Randall Cobb. By the time you’re done with that you might just tell the truth: “He is pretty fast.”