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Relating the NFL Labor Dispute to Physics Brett Miller It may seem odd, but some of the material in this course can help us determine which side to favor in the NFL lockout. The owners and players are battling over several issues such as smaller number of years on contracts, an eighteen game season, a billion dollars in revenue sharing, and health insurance plans. Now, you might be thinking that these are just a bunch of winey millionaires who are being greedy when they are paid to play FOOTBALL, but an understanding of physics helps explain why these football players actually have a legitimate reason to strike. Just ask New Orleans running back, Reggie Bush

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The math of the hit Sheldon Brown weighs 200 pounds (90.8 kg) and covers approximately 15 yards in his route to Reggie Bush in roughly one and a half seconds. This means he was running at a speed of meters per second! 15yds x 3ft/1.5s =30ft/s x.3048m/ft= m/s Sheldon was running at a speed equivalent to that of a car traveling 18.8 mph. Reggie Bush, who weighs 203 pounds (92.1 kg), covers roughly one yard in the same time giving him a speed of.2032 meters per second.

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The physics of the hit In order to appreciate how painful this hit truly was, we should calculate how much force was needed to stop the ball carrier versus how much force was used to stop the ball carrier. This information can be found using NEWTONS SECOND LAW and the principles obtained from the conservation of momentum (which allows us to derive an impulse equation). P reggie=mv= 92.1kg (.2032 m/s)= 18.7 Nsec P sheldon=mv= 90.8kg (9.144 m/s)= Nsec 18.7/830.3=.02- Sheldon only needed to exert 2% of the force that he did to stop Reggie from gaining more yardage. What did he do with the extra force? He sent him backwards at about 811 m/sec.

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How hard was it? If Sheldon was running at a speed of 9.144m/s, and his momentum was stopped in.2 seconds the force needed to stop his speed can be obtained through the impulse equation. F(t)=mvf-mvi F(.2)=90.8(0)-90.8(9.144) =-830.3/.2= N 1N=.2248lbs x.2248= pounds of force According to Newtons third law (F ab= -F ba ) for every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. This means Reggies body is exerting pounds of force on Sheldon, and in turn pounds of force are being exerted back on Reggie.

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So whose side do we take? As I have demonstrated, the impact of a single NFL hit is substantial because of the incredible size and speed of these athletes. The example I showed was of the force a 200 pound cornerback can exert in a single hit. Imagine being hit by rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (307 pounds, runs at a speed of 7.21 m/s based on 40 yard dash time), and we can see why injuries and concussions are so prevalent in the NFL today. NFL running backs carry the ball (and get tackled) nearly 300 times a year, and it is common for NFL defensive players to perform over 100 tackles in a season (top 40 tacklers in the league recorded at least 100 tackles). Because of Newtons third law, we know that these tackles exert the same force back on the player who is performing the tackle. We can say, based on the understanding of Newtons laws, that the NFL should not increase the number of games in each season, and that the money NFL players earn is potentially in exchange for their future quality of life.

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Conclusion Most teams perform around 1,100 tackles per year. Which means 563,200 tackles happen per year in a 16 game season. Adding two more games would be an additional 70,400 tackles these players endure every season. Due to the massive size and speed modern athletes have obtained, football has gone from a contact sport to a collusion sport. Each NFL tackle is like a minor car accident, and some are like major car accidents that result in severe injuries. Newtons laws prove that the force players are able to exert is capable of severe damage. These players should not be required to endure 70,400 extra minor car accidents because it would shorten an already steadily decreasing average NFL career, which in turn decreases their ability to pay their abnormally high medical bills once they retire. It would also decrease the players quality of life after football.

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