The GIF above is hypnotic. It shouldn’t be surprising, and yet, you are reminded how completely average you (and me) are and how non-average others can be.
That’s NFL Network’s Rich Eisen doing his celebratory end-of-combine 40-run along with former Kent State running back Dri Archer running his combine-best 40. Eisen clocked in a respectable 5.98, breaking the six-second barrier for the very first time.
Archer was clocked at 4.26, which is hard to compute. The thing is, though, you really don’t get a sense of how absurd this is until you see Eisen—who is average-dude fast and in shape—do the same thing. Also, Eisen’s reaction is the only reaction. There is nothing you can say about this. Justy gestures, eye bulges and continued watching.
That separation, the part where Archer dashes off the screen like a programming error, is a reminder of just how fast these hopeful players are. Fast doesn’t even cut it. Joe, your neighbor who runs marathons and sprinted in high school, is fast. These guys aren’t fast. They’re cyborgs.
We see a defensive back run in the high 4.6s and we scoff, hollering about draft stock, NFL speed and all the other stupid things that we now regurgitate for straight-line running. And if a defensive lineman doesn’t run under a 5-flat, well, he’s probably undraftable. Don’t draft that guy. Jesus is he slow.
This is how we’ve been trained. And then this GIF comes along—the first real visual evidence of the absurdity compared to our complete and utter averageness to surface in some time—and we can’t help but think “holy shit, that guy’s fast.”
That guy is fast. Cyborg fast.
We know this already, with the shrinking sprint times that regularly remind us each year how fast they are. And then you see it, right up against a sprint you’d be right around—perhaps a little faster or maybe a bit behind—and you realize that a good portion of these college football players are doing unspeakable things with regularity.
What does it mean? It doesn’t mean that you’re slow – although you might be. This is more about large human beings destroying stopwatches. Maybe going forward I won’t hammer away at that linebacker who just clocked a “disappointing” 4.71. Because I’m still running, and I’ll be a little while.