The Physics of Football Essay

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The Physics of Football

There is no question that everything people do in their lives involves physics. This is true from the way we communicate to the way that we fight wars. In some cases the influence of the laws of physics on our world are extremely apparent, such as in sports. Basketball, hockey, baseball and even cricket involve physics. From the most basic motions players perform in the game, to different plays designed by coaches, physics touches it all. These appearances of physics in the games that we play are sometimes so subtle we don’t even notice them. In other cases however, the impact of physics can be heard across the stadium as Jerome “The Bus” Bettis barrels his way into the endzone. The influences of physics on …show more content…

For instance a wide receiver whose game depends greatly on being able to accelerate quickly will prefer to play on an artificial surface with less friction. When a player gets in the open field he may be capable of reaching his maximum momentum. When this player's momentum is suddenly changed either with a great tackle or one hell of a hit the laws of physics concerning collisions, both elastic and inelastic, come into play.

An elastic collision is a collision in which kinetic energy is conserved, such as when a running back is hit so hard by the opposing team’s linebacker on a lead-draw play up the middle that the ball is forced out of his arms. The fumbled ball then hits the turf and because of the elasticity of the collision it bounces back up. Unlike an elastic collision, an inelastic collision does not conserve the kinetic energy of the colliding objects (Kirkpatrick & Wheeler 134). An example of an inelastic collision might be when a player catches the ball (if he catches the ball) and the momentum of the ball is completely stopped. However it is important to realize in this study of physics that a completely inelastic collision is impossible to attain in the real world because the energy isn’t really lost it is just converted into different forms such as the sound the collision makes. So in a play where a ball carrier is in the open field, a would-be tackler would try to apply an impulse in an attempt to stop the other

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