August 8, 2012 9:50 pm

Are you ready for some football?

Football season starts tomorrow night. Well, okay, preseason, if you want to split hairs.

Either way, it’s finally time to turn our attention from swimming and gymnastics (if it was there at all!) to something with a little more… impact.

StarTalk Radio tackles the physics of football

Image credit: Derek Boyko.

Of course, when astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson turns his attention to a topic, we all can’t help but learn something in the process. And StarTalk Radio’s show on The Physics of Football is no exception.

How many pounds of force does an NFL linebacker hit with?

How far could a typical NFL quarterback throw a football on the moon?

Do football players wear girdles?

How do football players make their gloves “stickier” before the game?

And, the question on everybody’s mind that we can use to win a bet in a bar on game day:

Does the coriolis effect have an impact on a punted football?

C’mon, we all do it. We learn these really cool, unexpected facts when we listen to StarTalk Radio and then we turn around and tell our friends to show how smart we are.

Well, if that’s you, then you’ll find plenty of useful facts in The Physics of Football. What else would you expect when you put 2 astrophysicists and a comic together with three New York Giants, one with a degree in mechanical engineering and another who majored in math?

Recorded in 2011 for the Super Bowl, Neil and comic co-host Chuck Nice tackled the subject with the help of another astrophysicist, Charles Liu, and New York Giants tight end Travis Beckum, linebacker Chase Blackburn (Math) and linebacker Jonathan Goff (Mechanical Engineering, now playing with the Washington Redskins).

When I listened to the show, I loved the frank and matter-of-fact way the Giants talked about injuries, helmet-to-helmet contact, the impact of equipment on performance and the strategic thinking that pervades virtually everything they do. Needless to say, the conversation with Neil was very different than what we all get on ESPN.

And by the way, to get the answers to the questions above, you’ll either have to listen to the episode, or buy me a beer in a bar some Sunday during a game.

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