Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Football Physics: The Science of the Game Hardcover – September 9, 2004
Wiley chemistry store
Top resources in chemistry and chemical engineering for students and professionals. Learn more. See more
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“When we prepare for the annual NFL draft, we look at each player's speed and his quickness. This book provides the best discussion of the difference between the two that I've seen. Whether your primary interest is popular science or pro football, you will enjoy Football Physics. You'll learn something about the way the world works, and you will come away with an increased appreciation for some fine points of a great game.” ―Bill Belichick, head coach, New England Patriots
About the Author
Timothy Gay, Ph.D., has been a professor of physics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln since 1993. Dr. Gay currently heads a research group that is funded by the National Science Foundation. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Top Customer Reviews
The author of "Football Physics: The Science of the Game" is eminently qualified to write the book. Dr. Timothy Gay played football at Caltech and earned a doctorate in atomic physics at the University of Chicago, and it is obvious from his writing that he remains a loyal fan of the game. Furthermore, there is no question about his talent in applying the principles of physics to an activity that most of us probably never realized had much in the way of scientific principles attached to it. Well, I was certainly surprised to learn just how much physics is involved in a game that hundreds of thousands of fans watch each week during the football season. And I suggest that all those high-school football players out there might profit immensely from taking some time out of practice to spend some time with Dr. Gay's book.
Initially, we are introduced to Newton's First Law. Don't recall who Isaac Newton was? No matter. You'll know who he was and why he is important before you get to Chapter Two. Anyway, Newton's First Law simply says that "mass wants to continue doing what it's doing, whether it's at rest or in motion." What's that got to do with the game of football? Well, for one thing, it "provides the reasoning behind why quarterback sneak plays work if well timed." There's more involved here, of course, but you'll have to read the book to find out what. Then, there is Newton's Second Law which states that "the force applied to an object is the product of the object's mass and its acceleration." When you think of "mass" in the context of football, think Refrigerator Perry. The author explains how this great football player can be used to illustrate this second physical law. You'll also learn a lot about acceleration, speed, and velocity and why these are important to a scientific understanding of football. Finally, there is Newton's Third Law which says that "whenever two objects collide, no matter what their individual masses, no matter how fast they're going, they always exert the same amount of force on each other, but in opposite directions." Are you beginning to see how this might apply to football? Think of all those objects colliding at and beyond the line of scrimmage. At this point in the book, by the way, we haven't even reached Chapter Two yet.
Since it is impossible for me to even begin to condense what the rest of the book holds, just let me tell you that you'll learn much about the "science" of blocking and tackling, about what effect altitude has on the flight of a kicked ball, about the ins and outs of football gear (do you know how helmets work?), what scientific principles are involved in kicking and passing a football, how and why the advent of artificial playing surfaces has changed the game, and a lot more. Do you know anything about the science behind the so-called "West Coast Offense" which was perfected by Joe Montana and Jerry Rice? No? You will after you read "Football Physics."
This is a serious book, to be sure. After all, it is about a basic empirical science, physics, and the application of its principles and methods to a human activity. But it is a fun book, too. It is entertaining and easy to read and understand. Furthermore, Dr. Gay has provided numerous diagrams and charts to help illustrate the principles of physics as they apply to football. There are also some classic photographs of famous NLF players in action which aid in visualizing certain important points that the author is trying to make. Also included are a bibliography and notes, as well as a handy index, which even includes page references to the illustrations and photographs.
The author also provides an appendix where he takes a more in-depth look at some important physics concepts and tools, and how they apply within the context of the game of football, including the Cartesian grid, the Pythagorean theorem, and vectors. Students of philosophy and mathematics please pay attention! You'll discover that philosophy and mathematics can be very practical pursuits indeed. Those who are not familiar with either philosophy or mathematics will be surprised to learn how things considered so "abstract" can also be so "practical."
Without hesitation, I recommend "Football Physics" to all readers who like to explore new territory or investigate new fields of inquiry. You don't have to be a football fan to enjoy it. You don't have to be a student of physics to enjoy it. You just have to be an inquisitive reader who desires to learn more about how the discoveries of science impact our ordinary activities or, conversely, how our ordinary activities are better illuminated by understanding them in the light of scientific principles.
One form of collision is that between the tackler and runner. Another one is that which occurs between the foot of the kicker and the football. Gay's equations show how the force of the kicking leg, including its angular velocity, is transferred to the ball. The forces of football-related kicks are computed. Record-setting punts and field goals are featured and examined. The spin of the football is also factored.
A bibliography contains references for further study. As an experienced science teacher, I think that this book would serve as an excellent supplement to high school and early-college physics courses.
Football Physics: The Science of the Game is a thoroughly enjoyable book and a great way to introduce students to physics in a way that illustrates its application in every day life. I wish a book like this had been available when I was first learning physics, it would have been a lot more fun.
It does a great job introducing the football portion of the topic, then the physics lesson, and then combines them to understand how the physics principle is implemented in real life. It does take a basic understanding of physics to really grasp the concepts since the book does not go into a great deal of detail on the principles.
It starts with the fundamentals of blocking a tackling and you gain a much greater understanding of the forces an NFL player can generate. Then you get to understand the precision required to run a passing and kicking game. I especially enjoyed the section on pursuit angles and maximizing the yardage gain.
A very fast read that was very enjoyable.
Dr. Gay is both a professor (atomic physics) and a football fan. What happens when a heavy, fast moving player (like Warren Sapp) hits a much lighter quarterback (Doug Flutie)who is standing still? This is such a better question than a mass of blah with a speed of blah-blah, and so on. Or what was the accuracy required of Joe Montana in throwing to Jerry Rice in The Catch during SuperBown XXIII. Montana had to throw the ball at just the right speed, just the right direction, and just the right time. But how fast, how accurately, and what was the margin of error on his timing.
The book is a delightful read on aspects of the game of football rarely seen.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Best read on the topic for me
Recommended by another player who found it very useful.