NOV 22, 2016 04:07 AM PST

Football, Physics and Field Goals


It's a big week for football, from pee wee games, to high school Thanksgiving rivalries to college and professional players. Football is a tough sport, but what some don't realize is that there is a fair amount of science involved. In particular Newton's First Law of Physics says that a body in motion tends to stay in motion unless an unbalanced force is applied to it. The same is true for a body at rest, that rest will continue unless and until an unbalanced force comes along. In football, that unbalanced force is usually a defensive player tackling an offensive rusher to prevent the ball from being moved downfield toward the goal.

The player being targeted by the offensive tackle will naturally resist, and this resistance is inertia. This is where size matters. The bigger a player is, the more inertia can be deployed to keep that running back from taking him down. Mass matters; it's more than just a player's height and weight, but rather the amount of matter contained in total. Weight is just how much of the players mass is attracted by the gravity on earth. A player who is 6'1" and 230 lbs would weigh less on the moon, because of the moon's gravitational force. Mass applies to both teams as well, since an offensive line of several players is operating against the defensive line of the other team's players. While talent is a huge part of the game, Newton's First Law is the science behind all that rushing and tackling.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
SEP 06, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 06, 2018
Plastics Recylcing: How Does It Work?
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE), a thermoplastic polymer consisting of numerous units of terephthalate (C10H8O4),  is one of the most co...
SEP 11, 2018
Videos
SEP 11, 2018
Eat Mediterranean Food and Live Longer?
In southern European countries, the "Mediterranean Diet" is widespread and lauded as a healthy way to eat. It’s caught on all over the worl...
SEP 18, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 18, 2018
Medkit for Astronauts
When travelling to a faraway place, we are likely to pack some medicines in the bag. For the astronauts on board of the International Space Station (ISS),...
OCT 04, 2018
Videos
OCT 04, 2018
Why Do We Have Nightmares With a Fever?
Fever is the body’s response to a threat. When some viruses or bacteria try to enter the body, an immune response begins that can include a sharp ris...
OCT 05, 2018
Videos
OCT 05, 2018
What is Site-directed Mutagenesis?
Site-directed mutagenesis is a common tool in the molecular laboratory. But someone had to pioneer it first....
OCT 13, 2018
Videos
OCT 13, 2018
Why you shouldn't give a baby water
Did you know that babies shouldn't drink water before they are at least six months old? That's because, while human adults are composed of 55-60% w...
Loading Comments...