For the last several decades, NFL and college football commentators have driven track people crazy.
The subject matter;
—– Persistent use of the term “world class speed” when describing a fast football’er.

“Look out…..he has world class speed”.

To demonstrate that such is not the case, a pro meet in Jacksonville Florida last weekend took advantage of the automatic every-10 meter-split timing system that we’ve been using in our sport for the 100m dash since the 1980’s. Records each 10 meter segment through to 100m.

They set it up to simply record the 40 meter split in route to 100m.

40 meters is nearly 44 yards, not a football 40 yards.

Unlike football’ers, they were using starting blocks. That helps for faster times.
However, they were running their normal 100m, not focussed on getting to the 40yard mark. And the 40 meter time is a 43 to 44 yard time, not a 40 yard time.

The times in the photo demonstrate the point.
And note that at this meet they also timed the women…..3 of them ran 4.4. That’s 4.4 for 43 to 44 yards.
That’s NFL wide receiver speed.

I first made this point in the early 1990’s after Carl Lewis ran a 100m world record 9.86. I took his 10 meter splits through 40 meters and calculated his football 40 yard dash time during that race.

I estimated in the 4.1 to 4.2 range.

By today’s standards his 100m world record time is somewhat pedestrian. Current world record is 9.58.
9.86 is tied with 7 other sprinters for 17th fastest of all-time.

NFL Scouting Combine Record…..4.24 Chris Johnson in 2008. That’s the fastest of all-time. Now look at the times in the photo for 43 to 44 yards a longer distance, and in route to 100m, not 40 yards.

To further put this subject matter to rest, Usain Bolt, while wearing sweats and street shoes on a NFL combine TV show ran 4.22 for a football 40. The record for football’ers is 4.24.

He laughed after seeing the time.
That’s what many or most of us track people do when watching a football game on TV and listen to a commentator say, “Look out…..he has world class speed”.

No… he doesn’t!!!