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ckparrothead
02-29-2012, 12:50 PM
I just got off the phone with someone extremely in the know on these things.

I've chided the concept of "official" 40 times in the past...because I know there is no such thing. I know what constitutes the "official" time that you see on NFL Network and whatnot. I also know that not one team uses those times. Not one. There's no magic bullet electronic time, because no matter what, someone is starting the electronic 40 yard dash timer with their thumb...and that means the decision when to start it is subject to human error.

All this I knew before the phone conversation. What I tried to get a sense of in talking to this person is just how off these official times were. Evidently, quite a bit. It's getting to the point where there's a view out there that if the NFL doesn't fix the situation then more and more players are going to be held out of drills at the Combine. The agents know that the scouts are getting it right, but they don't like that the media all use the "official" times and then absolutely kill their clients in the press for supposedly running slow.

I'll give you a for instance. One guy's official time came in around the 4.7 mark. I know for a fact that the scouts timed him between 4.54 and 4.57.

Another for instance. Last year, Aaron Williams' official time came in at around the 4.58 mark. Everyone killed him for it. He went to his Pro Day and ran between a 4.40 and 4.42. I don't care how fast a track is, I don't care how much you train, you don't improve that much. You look at all the Combine times and measures he had aside from the slow 40 time, they all more closely approximate an athlete that would run a 4.42 rather than the 4.6.

I've been told to use my computer magic to time these guys myself, and I would be much closer to the scouts' actual times than the "official" times that come out. Normally I would consider that too onerous a task, not worth the time. But this year, the "official" timing has just gone crazy. It's worse than I've ever seen it. You have guys being changed by two-tenths of a second. That's ridiculous. Dontari Poe's 40 yard dash at 346 lbs was one of the most incredible athletic feats I've seen...yet the official time rounds him out to a 4.98 second 40 yard dash time, which is only 0.04 seconds faster than what Paul Soliai ran at his Pro Day.

Nothing against Soliai, I think it's good to look at Soliai's old Combine results in order to keep PERSPECTIVE how everyone seems perfectly fine with us losing a guy like him and replacing with some fresh new Combine stud when we could just keep the polished and proven former Combine stud that we have. Nonetheless, I don't think Dontari Poe ran the same speed Soliai ran at his Pro Day, with all due respect to Big Paul.

The controversy this year reminds me of a year in the past, can't remember if it was 2006, 2007 or 2008...but one year I'm looking at all the vertical jump measures coming in and there had to be something wrong. Had to be. I actually conducted a statistical study of that year's vertical jump statistics and showed that without a doubt, with full statistical significance, something was off. The entire distribution was off by 3.5 inches. We're not talking outliers, we're talking the entire distribution. Sure enough you look at Pro Day measures, most players that jumped at both the Combine and Pro Day, jumped about 3 inches higher at Pro Day. Later I heard some whispers that the way the Combine guys calibrated the vertex equipment may have been off, which could explain the problem. This year's "official" times remind me of that fiasco.

So just keep all this in mind when you start bandying about the "official" times. I always use the term with quotation marks in my Bleacher Report articles, and note my derision wherever possible...but maybe even that's not enough. Maybe it would be worthwhile to re-time all these guys.

dolfan_101
02-29-2012, 01:06 PM
Why don't they use a starting beam like in the NHRA?

jim1
02-29-2012, 01:53 PM
The day that Marvin McNutt is faster than Joe Adams is the day that Ill drop a deuce, barbecue it and eat it for lunch with a little sauce on the side. Adams aside, ths combine's inability to get the 40 times right reflects very poorly on them.

Screw it, I'll just look for the pro day 40 times and place more significance on them.

SMadison29
02-29-2012, 01:58 PM
Why don't they use a starting beam like in the NHRA?

The NFL set up a full electronic measurement system at the combine this year but those numbers won't be made public to neither the players or the teams. I can't find the article from last week but the fear is that all of the times will be .2 off, meaning Chris Johnson's record 4.24 was really a 4.44 & the NFL is worried about a culture shock.

SMadison29
02-29-2012, 02:02 PM
I've chided the concept of "official" 40 times in the past...because I know there is no such thing. I know what constitutes the "official" time that you see on NFL Network and whatnot. I also know that not one team uses those times. Not one. There's no magic bullet electronic time, because no matter what, someone is starting the electronic 40 yard dash timer with their thumb...and that means the decision when to start it is subject to human error.

But when you go to scouts times the person starting & stopping the watch is using their thumb twice as opposed to just once using the electronic stop timer.

Have you heard any talk about running the 40 using the track & field style, you know, mark-set-go (gun shot)?

WelcomeBack
02-29-2012, 02:04 PM
I just got off the phone with someone extremely in the know on these things.

I've chided the concept of "official" 40 times in the past...because I know there is no such thing. I know what constitutes the "official" time that you see on NFL Network and whatnot. I also know that not one team uses those times. Not one. There's no magic bullet electronic time, because no matter what, someone is starting the electronic 40 yard dash timer with their thumb...and that means the decision when to start it is subject to human error.

All this I knew before the phone conversation. What I tried to get a sense of in talking to this person is just how off these official times were. Evidently, quite a bit. It's getting to the point where there's a view out there that if the NFL doesn't fix the situation then more and more players are going to be held out of drills at the Combine. The agents know that the scouts are getting it right, but they don't like that the media all use the "official" times and then absolutely kill their clients in the press for supposedly running slow.

I'll give you a for instance. One guy's official time came in around the 4.7 mark. I know for a fact that the scouts timed him between 4.54 and 4.57.

Another for instance. Last year, Aaron Williams' official time came in at around the 4.58 mark. Everyone killed him for it. He went to his Pro Day and ran between a 4.40 and 4.42. I don't care how fast a track is, I don't care how much you train, you don't improve that much. You look at all the Combine times and measures he had aside from the slow 40 time, they all more closely approximate an athlete that would run a 4.42 rather than the 4.6.

I've been told to use my computer magic to time these guys myself, and I would be much closer to the scouts' actual times than the "official" times that come out. Normally I would consider that too onerous a task, not worth the time. But this year, the "official" timing has just gone crazy. It's worse than I've ever seen it. You have guys being changed by two-tenths of a second. That's ridiculous. Dontari Poe's 40 yard dash at 346 lbs was one of the most incredible athletic feats I've seen...yet the official time rounds him out to a 4.98 second 40 yard dash time, which is only 0.04 seconds faster than what Paul Soliai ran at his Pro Day.

Nothing against Soliai, I think it's good to look at Soliai's old Combine results in order to keep PERSPECTIVE how everyone seems perfectly fine with us losing a guy like him and replacing with some fresh new Combine stud when we could just keep the polished and proven former Combine stud that we have. Nonetheless, I don't think Dontari Poe ran the same speed Soliai ran at his Pro Day, with all due respect to Big Paul.

The controversy this year reminds me of a year in the past, can't remember if it was 2006, 2007 or 2008...but one year I'm looking at all the vertical jump measures coming in and there had to be something wrong. Had to be. I actually conducted a statistical study of that year's vertical jump statistics and showed that without a doubt, with full statistical significance, something was off. The entire distribution was off by 3.5 inches. We're not talking outliers, we're talking the entire distribution. Sure enough you look at Pro Day measures, most players that jumped at both the Combine and Pro Day, jumped about 3 inches higher at Pro Day. Later I heard some whispers that the way the Combine guys calibrated the vertex equipment may have been off, which could explain the problem. This year's "official" times remind me of that fiasco.

So just keep all this in mind when you start bandying about the "official" times. I always use the term with quotation marks in my Bleacher Report articles, and note my derision wherever possible...but maybe even that's not enough. Maybe it would be worthwhile to re-time all these guys.

I remember the Taylor Mays 40 yard dash. They ended up giving him an 'official' 4.43.

That same year they gave Jacoby Ford an 'official' 4.28 and Trindon Holliday an 'official' 4.34.

Here was the video of the three spliced together with Mays finishing between Ford and Holliday, which should have given him a 4.32

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v690/WelcomeBack/?action=view&current=IMG_0121.mp4

ckparrothead
02-29-2012, 02:32 PM
But when you go to scouts times the person starting & stopping the watch is using their thumb twice as opposed to just once using the electronic stop timer.

Have you heard any talk about running the 40 using the track & field style, you know, mark-set-go (gun shot)?

While it's true that the hand timers involve two thumb pushes versus one thumb push for electronic times, what has been suggested to me is that the methodology in place for the starting thumb on the "official" times is bogus. They start the time when the hand moves, not when the player moves. Track athletes that can start with their hand up have the advantage but normal guys get their counters started like multiple tenths of a second before they're really running. It's been suggested to me that the scouts actually get it right because they instinctually start their timers on the player actually moving rather than a little bit of hand movement...whereas the "official' guys are looking for the hand movement.

Either way I've been lobbying for track & field style for a long time, as you say. Not everyone is all about that, because it will incorporate player reaction time into the speed figure, whereas the current setup is viewed to be a more pure speed figure, not speed + reaction time. Also as you say there would be a pretty big culture shock because guys like Chris Johnson would go from 4.24 to like 4.42. All I know is the current system is pretty messed up and leaves it very difficult bordering on impossible for the media to work with and get it right.

WelcomeBack
02-29-2012, 02:42 PM
While it's true that the hand timers involve two thumb pushes versus one thumb push for electronic times, what has been suggested to me is that the methodology in place for the starting thumb on the "official" times is bogus. They start the time when the hand moves, not when the player moves. Track athletes that can start with their hand up have the advantage but normal guys get their counters started like multiple tenths of a second before they're really running. It's been suggested to me that the scouts actually get it right because they instinctually start their timers on the player actually moving rather than a little bit of hand movement...whereas the "official' guys are looking for the hand movement.

Either way I've been lobbying for track & field style for a long time, as you say. Not everyone is all about that, because it will incorporate player reaction time into the speed figure, whereas the current setup is viewed to be a more pure speed figure, not speed + reaction time. Also as you say there would be a pretty big culture shock because guys like Chris Johnson would go from 4.24 to like 4.42. All I know is the current system is pretty messed up and leaves it very difficult bordering on impossible for the media to work with and get it right.

Did you try to personally time anyone on your own Chris?

mnphinfan
02-29-2012, 02:57 PM
But when you go to scouts times the person starting & stopping the watch is using their thumb twice as opposed to just once using the electronic stop timer.

Have you heard any talk about running the 40 using the track & field style, you know, mark-set-go (gun shot)?

Exactly, when I was a college track coach we always added .24 seconds to every time that was "hand timed". It took into account the extra time needed for a human to react to the gun going off and the runner crossing the finish line.

When using the current track and field method you actually point a timing gun at the starters pistol. When it picks up the flash of the pistol it starts a clock on a digital computer screen. When the runners cross the finish line, which has a camera linked to the timing gun and digital computer scrren, the screen shows the exact amount of time from the flash of the gun until the moment the runners pass the finish line. This is how timing occurs now from High school state meets all the way to the Olympics.

The best way to do it would actually be a starting beam like a previous poster stated which would start the clock when the runner crossed the starting line and stopped when the runner crossed the finish line.

It would be nice, but I don't really see the NFL going to such lengths to make sure the public gets the exact 40 times when basically every NFL franchise has scouts who go by their own times anyways.